Palestine Israel Network Working Group

The constituency-based MCEC Palestine Israel Network Working Group serves the MCEC constituency by promoting awareness and education on specific issues and topics. The information and links are those of the Working Group and do not necessarily represent MCEC as a whole.

Educating ourselves, engaging our neighbours, encouraging sustainable justice and peace for Palestinians and Israelis

Open Letter to MCEC Pastors
March 27, 2023

Dear MCEC Pastor,   

Soon it will be six months since the War on Gaza began. Although the violence in that land has been happening for many, many years, as of October 7, 2023 our awareness has been dramatically heightened. With countless others, we share the outrage, grief, and sense of helplessness this violence and war have awakened.  Like you, our hearts are heavy and filled with sorrow.

Rooted in compassion, peace, and justice, we hope that congregations in our area, will observe the six months and pray for the people affected by this war on Sunday, April 7th. See prayer below.

Many of our congregations have been praying. Some have participated in a prayer walk, a prayer vigil, a hymn sing protest, and a silent march. A few churches have invited speakers to talk about their first-hand experience of life in Palestine and Israel, others have had bible studies prepared by the church in Palestine. Small groups have been created to learn more about the history and the people of the Holy Land. How will your church mark the six months of war?

We are three Christian women who have been actively involved in the work for peace in Palestine and Israel and are writing to encourage you and to offer some support if needed. We can put you in touch with local folk (Palestinian, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian) who are willing to speak in your church. We can forward to you worship resources and links to denominational websites. We can connect you to people who are part of the local Palestinian Network or send you a list of local events and opportunities.

Thank you for all you and your church are doing to pray for and to work for peace and justice.

Linda Ashfield
(retired Presbyterian minister)

Kathy Bergen
(Coordinator Mennonite Church Eastern Canada--Palestine/Israel Network)

Kathy Douglas
(Faith Formation Minister, Antler River Watershed, Horseshoe Falls, Western Ontario Waterways Regional Councils, United Church)

A suggested prayer for April 7th

Lord of love and compassion,
It is now six months since the Israel-Hamas war began and our hearts are broken.
Words fail to contain the groaning of our lament
and our sense of helplessness.

As we witness the horrors and heartbreak in Israel and Palestine, we seek your comfort, strength, and hope.
God of truth, mercy, and peace,
God of life and God of reconciliation,

we mourn the suffering and murder of your people, we pray for an end to this senseless violence,
and we pray for a just peace for the people who have endured the burden of conflict for so long.
Console those who grieve, heal the injured, and comfort those who are alone, hungry, homeless,
dying, and afraid.

We pray for the children,
for the mothers and fathers, the families.

Let wisdom settle on the governments
and leaders of this world

so that justice is sought, reconciliation found,
peace established,
and security provided for all. 

Help us to do all we can
in our work for justice and peace.

In the name of Jesus, the one who said,
“Blessed are the peacemakers”.  Amen

Jerusalem barbed wire in foregoundThe MCEC Palestine-Israel Network (PIN) builds relationships and advocates for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.

We offer a variety of educational activities, with a special focus on the congregations of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, and welcome partnerships with other groups.

Members of PIN are available to speak in churches and to organize or co-sponsor public events.

Our group was formed after Mennonite Church Canada passed a resolution in 2016 affirming the efforts of Israelis and Palestinians who are committed to non-violent ways of overcoming the injustice in their region, and committed Canadian Mennonites to working in partnership with them and with Jewish and Palestinian communities in Canada. The resolution also called upon congregations to deepen their understanding of the Palestine-Israel relationships.

There are similar Palestine-Israel Network groups in several other Canadian provinces. The Mennonite Church Canada PIN website provides additional information and resources.

Contact: Kathy Bergen

2016 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly
Resolution on Palestine and Israel

North American Mennonites have lived and studied, ministered and served in Palestine and Israel for nearly 70 years. Many partnerships have formed over these years, particularly through Mennonite Central Committee, our various denominational mission boards and Christian Peacemaker Teams. Thousands of Mennonites from Canada and the US have participated in learning tours and exchanges facilitated by Mennonite educational institutions, service and mission agencies, and tour operators. Mennonite Church Canada has sent workers to serve at Bethlehem Bible College and Serve Nazareth.

This resolution, approved at the 2016 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly, emerges largely in response to the plea of Palestinian Christians that the global church come alongside the Palestinian people as they suffer under Israel’s 49-year military occupation of their lands: the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

View the Resolution