Washington, August 21, 2012 – In the face of deepening violence how can the church witness for peace?
Amid continued reports of violence in Syria, approximately 70 people from various Orthodox and Protestant churches met June 12 at Saint Aphraim Church, a Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch congregation to respond to the ongoing and intensifying violence in Syria.
The program was initiated and organized by Nathan Hosler, the Ecumenical Peace Coordinator for the National Council of Churches, in collaboration and Fr. Fady Abdulahad, a Syrian priest ministering in Alexandria, Va.
His Eminence, Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim planned the order of worship and offered prayers and a sermon. While the leaders of the church wished to avoid taking particular political positions, they agreed the group should come together in prayer.
Sermons focused on the need to pray for peace in the region and the Christian call to work for peace.
Emphasis was placed on the need to end violence and to stand solidarity across church or religious lines.
In addition to a number of chanted prayers and songs in Syriac, Arabic, and English, Gwen Miller from Washington City Church of the Brethren led a hymn, “Move in Our Midst.”
Since this initial prayer service. the National Council of Churches has continued to work to find ways to support the Syriac Orthodox church and work for peace in the region.