Church leaders call on Canadian government to advocate for the respect of international law in Gaza

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

In December 2022 we travelled to Gaza to visit the Al Ahli Arab Hospital, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. There we saw the tremendous work being done to offer healing and hope to traumatized children of past conflicts and the beginnings of an exciting partnership with the Lutheran Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem to offer cancer care, including chemotherapy. Now Al Ahli Arab hospital has been bombed, lying in ruins amid reports of hundreds of casualties and deaths.

Archbishop Hosam Naoum, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, wrote in a statement on October 17th:

In the strongest terms, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem condemns this atrocious attack that has transpired in the heart of Gaza. Initial reports suggest the loss of countless lives, a manifestation of what can only be described as a crime against humanity. Hospitals, by the tenets of international humanitarian law, are sanctuaries, yet this assault has transgressed those sacred boundaries. We heed the call of Archbishop Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), who implored for the safeguarding of medical facilities and the rescission of evacuation orders. Regrettably, Gaza remains bereft of safe havens……… An urgent appeal resonates for the international community to fulfill its duty in protecting civilians and ensuring that such inhumane horrific acts are not replicated.

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We urge everyone to speak up for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow potable water, food, medical care and more to reach those in need. Canada must use all means at its disposal to advocate for the respect of international law and the protection of human rights as it has done in the past. The time to speak is now!

This war will only bring increasing devastation and deepen tensions in an already volatile region. There will be no winners, only incalculable losses.

With broken hearts—and fervent prayer for compassionate and courageous leadership,

[signed] +Susan C Johnson

The Rev. Susan Johnson
National Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

[signed] +Linda Nicholls

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Canada


Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Official Opposition [email protected]
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of New Democratic Party [email protected]
Yves-François Blanchet MP, Leader of the Bloc Québécois [email protected]
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party [email protected]
Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs [email protected], [email protected]
David DaSilva Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority [email protected]
Archbishop Hosam Naoum, Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem [email protected]
Bishop Sani Azar, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land [email protected]
Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican Communion [email protected]
Rev. Dr. Anne Burghardt, General Secretary, The Lutheran World Federation [email protected]

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”