Listen to their voices of pain: Archbishop Justin on his Middle East visit
Friday 5th July 2013Writing in the Church Times, Archbishop Justin said injustice and fear across the region must be confronted "with love, humility, and service"
Archbishop Justin and Bishop Mouneer, President-Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, in conversation with the former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, at All Saints Cathedral, Cairo, Egypt, Monday 24 June 2013. (Lambeth Palace photo by Chris Cox)
Archbishop Justin said today the Church of England must "take great care" to listen to voices of suffering in the Middle East, including shrinking Christian populations, in his first published comments since returning from the region last weekend.
But he said we must contribute "as servants, not coming with some grand idea of solution." He urged the Church to take inspiration from the dioceses in Cairo and Jerusalem which "punch far above their weight, and do it by love expressed in action."
Injustices across the region, and the fears felt by many communities, must be confronted, but "in keeping with these wonderful dioceses, confronted with love, humility, and service," he said.
The Archbishop said: "Both dioceses have more institutions (including a full-size, full-range hospital in Egypt) than churches - institutions through which the love of Christ pours unconditionally to all who come. There are schools, clinics, advice centres, and all manner of general care. Both dioceses have effective relationships with governments, other Churches, and with the Muslim majorities. Both maintain a passionate and profound spirituality, and a commitment to the whole Anglican Communion."
He said that "we can and must pray fervently for peace and justice in Egypt", which he said he regretted having to leave "as the political temperature rose".
Commenting on the Holy Land, the Archbishop said it is "absurd to imagine that there are simple solutions to the total absence of trust that prevents progress towards peace... Both sides are eloquent about the reasons for the fear and insecurity. Going through checkpoints and hearing of the indignities suffered daily by many Palestinians explains much. So does visiting Yad Vashem, or hearing from those who have endured rocket fire."