The Diocese of Ohio is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion represented in the United States by The Episcopal Church.
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Last week I attended a gathering of interfaith leaders in Cleveland to celebrate the Jewish holy day, Sukkot. Rabbis, Imams, and Christian leaders talked about the importance of relationships and community. We shared stories of connection and faith and prayed together for the unity of humanity. Less than a week later, our hearts broke after hearing the reports of violence and war from the Holy Land. Our hearts break because we know we were created in God’s image to live in community, centered in the love of the Divine. Our hearts break because we know that violence comes from fear and hate, which separate us from God. I’m convinced that hearts weigh more when they are broken, and the continuing news can weigh us down and drive us to despair. I encourage you to turn toward your spiritual communities for support and sustenance. When we turn to God in prayer and connect with each other - friends, neighbors, grieving community members, together, we hold onto God’s dream of peace.
Our siblings in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem are suggesting that if we want to make donations in a way that would be immediately helpful, we direct resources to the Alhi Arab Hospital in Gaza, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Consider making a contribution to the hospital through the Episcopal Relief & Development Middle East Fund. Support of this fund will help provide medicine and other supplies and help partners tend to the physical and psychosocial wounds of all people affected by this conflict.
The Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, who was ordained in the Diocese of Ohio and is now the 11th Bishop of Missouri, wrote this prayer that articulates the deep angst of our hearts and souls. Together, we pray, we wail, and we hold to each other in the unity of God as we long for an end to violence that can only come through God’s peace and love.
Healer of the Nations,
from the noise of war
and the drumbeat of vengeance,
give us undiminished determination
to wage peace.
Out of brokenness, violence, and destruction
let us plant seeds of hope.
Out of chaos, confusion, and hatred,
build bridges of love.
Out of distrust, disunity, and distance,
walk together in harmony.
Heal our divisions and make us whole. Amen.
We must continue to show up for each other, especially in the midst of heartache and pain. Let us be extra gentle during these times and hold each other in love and prayer.
The Rt. Rev. Anne B. Jolly
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