Annapolis peace conference brings hope

An announcement out of the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and of Israel have agreed to begin immediate negotiations for a peace settlement to be reached by December 2008 “brings hope to Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Maureen Shea, director of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, said November 27.

According to Episcopal Life Online Shea adds:

“President Bush and Secretary of State Rice are to be commended for their efforts, and particularly for inviting Syria to this historic meeting.>

She noted, however, that “realizing the goal of two states living side by side in peace will require the continued sustained commitment of both the president and the secretary of state.”

The New York Times reported that the agreement creates a framework for talks aimed at creating a democratic Palestinian state that would exist peacefully with Israel. The talks could begin within weeks. The Annapolis agreement does address the issues involved in creating and implementing such a two-state solution.

Delegations from 49 countries and international organizations are gathered for the conference at the United States Naval Academy.

As a sign of how difficult the talks will be, the Times reported, violence broke out during demonstrations in the West Bank when security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas clashed with Islamists who brand him a traitor for taking part in the Annapolis talks.

Meanwhile, in Annapolis, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church is hosting events, coinciding with the conference, “designed to promote peace in the Middle East through dialogue, discussion and education,” according to the congregation’s website.

Read it all here

Ekklesia carried commentary and news today here and here

Prayers for peace in the Middle East follow:

Prayers for Peace in the Middle East

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church

Sustain together in undiminished hope, O God of hope, those who continue to labor with undiminished determination to build peace in the land from which, of old,

out of brokenness, violence and destruction, nevertheless hope emerged for so many of faith. . . .

Bless all the spiritual seed of Abraham together with the light of your Presence.

For in the light of your Presence we have found a way of justice and mercy and a vision of Peace.

We praise you O God, Giver of Peace, who commands us to Peace. Amen

Rabbi Herbert Bronstein, Emeritus

Northshore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, Illinois

God of mercy and compassion, of grace and reconciliation, pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East: Jews, Muslims and Christians, Palestinians and Israelis.

Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope, oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation, that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,

and peace and justice could be experienced by all. Amen.

The Rev. Said Ailabouni, Senior Pastor

Grace Lutheran Church, La Grange, Illinois

In the Name of God,

The Everlasting Merciful,

The Cherisher Of the Worlds and Worthy of all Praise, Our Lord:

You have created us from a single (pair) of a male And a female and made us into

Nations and Tribes that we may Know one another (not that we may despise each other) so Help us to love each other and take the hatred and anger from our

Hearts so that People of The Book (Jews, Christians and Muslims)

In the Middle East may live in Peace and Justice. Amen

Dawud Ahmad Assad

Council of Mosques, USA, New York, New York

O God Source of Life, Creator of Peace. . .

Help Your children, anguished and confused,

To understand the futility of hatred and violence

And grant them the ability to stretch across

Political, religious and national boundaries

So they may confront horror and fear

By continuing together

In the search for justice, peace and truth. . . .

With every fiber of our being, we beg You, O God,

To help us not to fail nor falter. Amen

Rabbi H. Rolando Matalon

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, New York, New York

Lord God, we turn to you in these trying hours when conflict is a daily reality for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Palestine. We promise you to work to our utmost for peace and reconciliation in the region. But we know we cannot do it alone. We very much need the strength of your presence in our midst if we are to overcome the

obstacles before us. So our prayer at this moment is that you add your support to our efforts, that you show yourself as a tower of strength in those moments when the barriers seem impassable. Together we can become beacons of hope for just and peaceful societies in the land so very dear to the peoples of your covenant. Amen.

The Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM

Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois

Almighty God!

After almost a century of mistrust and fratricide, you inspired Jews, Christians and Muslims to take the path of reconciliation in the Middle East. . . .

We ask for your forgiveness, O God, yet we find it hard to forgive our past enemies.

May Your Words touch those who still stray in the wilderness of vengeful violence,

forgetting your command to “forgive and overlook, till God accomplishes His Purpose;

for God hath power over all things.” Amen

Abdelwahab Hechiche

University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

O God, we come to you with open hands and open hearts.

We pray for peace and for all those that suffer violence and injustice in the midst of war and conflict.

We pray for the innocent, combatants, peacemakers, and religious and political leaders.

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the holy city of God and spiritual home to all the children of Abraham.

O God of mercy and compassion,

Embrace our Israeli and Palestinian brothers and sisters.

They have endured profound loss and sorrow.

They are fatigued by fear and anger.

Mend their broken hearts and failing spirits.

Ignite in them sparks of hope.

Comfort them and guide them onto the road of peace.

O God of peace and reconciliation,

Lift up the international leaders who search for peace.

They have talked before without success.

They face a difficult road and many obstacles.

Inspire them to move from words to actions that fulfill a greater vision of peace.

Arouse in them a passion for righteousness.

Bless them and their work for peace.

O God of all creation,

Your people cry for peace.

May your promise of justice and enduring love

Breathe renewed Life

Into our commitment to a sustainable peace,

When two states – Israel and Palestine – are a reality,

Living side-by-side in security, harmony and peace. Amen

Churches for Middle East Peace

Past Posts