Monday, August 21, 2006

Archbishop Ends Fast With Call For New Efforts For A Sustainable Peace in Middle East

The Archbishop of York has today ended his seven-day vigil for peace by calling for the international community to renew its efforts in working for a sustainable solution to conflict in the Middle East.

Speaking at the morning Eucharistic service in York Minster, where he has spent the past week praying, fasting and sleeping in a tent, The Most Revd Dr John Sentamu said:

“The events of the past weeks, in the Lebanon, Israel, the United States and Britain have demonstrated that we cannot afford any longer to leave the issues of the Middle East in the pending tray of unresolved business. There is no greater recruiting sergeant for would be Jihadists than the conflict in the Middle East. Without urgent action on our part, for their sakes and our own, the spiral of violence that has lasted longer than the whole of my lifetime - and I am 57 - will continue unabated, as new generations become mired in the enmity of their forefathers.

“After seven days of fasting and praying I am more persuaded than ever that wars and violence cannot lead to a long lasting solution.

“The road to peace is not an easy one, but we need to stick at it. The dividends of peace are incalculably greater than the wages of conflict which have been paid over decades in the Middle East in the countless widows, orphans and displaced peoples produced by conflict.

The Archbishop also called for the development of a sense of inclusion, safety and civic society in Britain as being required to build peace at home as well as abroad:

“We must each and every one of us hold responsibility for seeking peace in our own time, in our own streets and in our own homes as well as continuing to pray for the world… We must look at our own nation, our own children growing in a society which does not always foster inclusion and generosity as our priority. It is surely fear and anxiety which leads to aggression. We must build a sense of safety. If we seek for others an integrity and legitimacy of civil society, we ourselves must strive to think about our own.”

Dr. Sentamu also stated that his tent would remain pitched in York Minster as a symbol of the continuing need for prayer until a UN peace keeping force had been placed in Southern Lebanon: “I continue to invite people to come and to offer prayers of peace in this place for the Middle East, for our nation and for peace in our own hearts.”


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