June 5, 2024

Dear church,

For eight horrific months war has raged in Gaza. Thousands of people have died, and thousands more are suffering. In recent days we have seen unspeakable images of violence in Rafah and escalating violence in the West Bank. Like the prophet Isaiah, we lament, “How long, O Lord?” (Isaiah 6:11).

At times a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis doesn’t seem possible, yet as Christians we believe that it is. The psalmist assures us that God “makes wars cease to the end of the earth” (Psalm 46:9). At times it seems that there is nothing we can do, yet through baptism God calls us to be peacemakers. We live out this calling in many ways, including through prayer, advocacy and accompaniment.

As a church, we continue to:

  • Pray for all people who are suffering and grieving, and for this war to end diplomatically in a lasting peace, rooted in justice and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis.
  • Advocate for an immediate, bilateral cease-fire and a halt in U.S. arms transfers to Israel, to prevent further loss of life; the release of all hostages and uncharged prisoners; and unimpeded humanitarian aid for all in need. We will continue to advocate for these priorities with the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress.
  • Walk with all who long for a just peace, including especially our Palestinian siblings in the ELCA, as well as Christian, Muslim and Jewish partners here in the U.S. and in the Holy Land.

As Christ taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Let us continue to hope and to live our faith.


In peace,

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton

Presiding Bishop, ELCA


For more information and resources see:

For Peace in God’s World, ELCA social statement

Resources for the Crisis in the Holy Land – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org)

ELCA Sumud, which issues timely advocacy-action alerts

Leave A Comment