A Letter from Jerusalem
May 31, 2001

Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Salaam and Grace in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ and blessed greetings from Jerusalem. I hope that this finds you well.

The Church can no longer keep quiet. It is shameful for the Church to keep its eyes closed to the circumstances of the people of the Land of the Holy One. I challenge you! The Church must wake up. The Church must show its credibility, as a voice for the voiceless, and in showing the plight of the oppressed. The Church is an instrument of His Peace, a Peace established on the principles of Truth and Justice. It would be a tragic shame to wake up sixty years from now, only to begin the apologies for having kept quiet. The way in which some Christians kept quiet about what happened to the Jews in the 1940's.

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II has just recently appointed two very high ranking representatives to travel to the Holy Land, with the intention of meeting with President Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon, and with the express purpose of communicating the Vatican's message of Peace and Justice.

I challenge the Episcopal Church of the United State to rise to the situation, and make your stand for Peace and Justice known. The least we can do is to send a delegation, to bring the concerns of the Church in the United States to the parties involved in the conflict
Know that this comes with my prayers and best wishes.

In Christ,

+ The Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal