Anglican Church of Southern Africa asks parishes to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people

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The annual meeting of the church’s Provincial Standing Committee, its top decision-making body between synods, adopted a resolution today asking its local churches:
— to highlight the plight of Palestinians on a Sunday late in November close to the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29; and
— to co-host with other groups the annual commemoration on May 15 of the displacement of Palestinians during the conflict which occurred around the establishment of Israel as a state in 1948.

In debate on the resolution, the committee heard that there had been controversy over the church’s stand on the situation in Palestine at the recent assembly of the World Council of Churches in Germany. The WCC had been reluctant to criticise Israel, with German church and government officials particularly sensitive to being accused of anti-semitism. 

The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority of dioceses, with no votes against it and two abstentions.

The full text of the resolution reads:

2022 ACSA RESOLUTION ON PALESTINE AND ISRAEL

Acknowledging that:

1. all human beings are created in the image of God, and that Christianity does not elevate one group of people over another;

2. Christian and Jewish Zionism are both undergirded by notions of supremacy and are forms of racism which have no place in the Christian faith;

3. the Palestinian people remain victims of attitudes in Europe for which they are not responsible. Their refugee situation is the longest running refugee situation in history;

4. support for Palestinian people and advocacy for their human dignity is in no way synonymous with anti-semitism;

5. the integrity and authenticity of the Christian faith is in grave danger if we do not stand with those who suffer.

Therefore, this PSC resolves to:

1. request all parishes in ACSA to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people on the Sunday before Advent yearly, in line with the International day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November;

2. respectfully request the Archbishop to re-commend the Bible Study series “The Bible and the Land Called Holy” for study and to commission the preparation and leading of an online study series during Lent 2023;

3. request local parishes in ACSA to co-host Nakba (or Catastrophe) day, yearly, on 15 May with others who host similar events;

4. respectfully request the Archbishop to send strong messages of support to Palestinian Christians and further respectfully requests the Archbishop to consider visiting Palestinian Christians and/or host a group in South Africa;

5. reflect on what the Bishops of Lambeth were able to resolve and to consider the implications of what they decided;

6. encourage engagement with Christians in other parts of the globe, particularly former colonial powers in Europe and USA and urge them to take stronger actions so that Israel is held accountable and that Palestinian rights are upheld.

Proposed by: The Rt Revd Charles May, Bishop of the Highveld

Seconder: The Revd Dr Andrew Warmback, Diocese of Natal