Statement on the Middle East from the Board President

Statement on Events in the Middle East Dec. 13, 2023

The recent events in the Middle East have created alarm and anxiety in our congregation, community, and country. Since Oct. 6, 2023, several UUA affiliates have released statements, including from our UUA President, the Rev. Sofia Betancourt, on the suffering and loss of life in both Israel and Palestine, one from the UUA as a whole, and one from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

To quote Rev. Betancourt: “We as a people of faith can condemn violence against civilians while at the same time engaging the full legacies and histories of oppression that shape such devastating conflict. As a faith tradition, Unitarian Universalists have long worked for peace, and our principles and values call for the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. At the same time, we have not engaged the tangled issues surrounding Israel/Palestine in community since 2018, and our last engagement resulted in severed relationships, and deep pain.”

“I pray for the people of Israel and Palestine. I pray for leaders around the globe who must respond to this latest flare of violence and the untenable ethical considerations that abound. I pray for Muslim and Jewish UUs who experience the impact of this long strife acutely. I pray that those of us less likely to know the trauma of unending brutality and harm will not turn away from generational loss, from the devastating realities and their root causes, or from the relentless tragedy of war and occupation. Be gentle with yourselves when you need to be, but do not turn away unless you must. We are one global family living tenuously on the same human-impacted Earth. Let us center ourselves in justice as we call for peace.”

Our UUA leaders have collected resources and information about the Palestine/Israel conflict that you may find helpful. To quote this page: “We are keenly aware that members of our Unitarian Universalist community do not all share an identical analysis of the history of the region or the realities of the current crisis, and yet what is clear is that we are all united by our shared heartbreak over the killing, kidnapping, displacement, and violence impacting so many of our human siblings, regardless of their national identity”.

Let us remember our Covenant for a Healthy Community as we talk about the emotions evoked by the conflict, and hold each other in love and care as we support each other through this tumultuous time.

With hopes for peace,

Christine Schertz
President, Board of Trustees
Unitarian Universalist Church
West Lafayette, IN

ref: with acknowledgement to the statements from UU Church in Cherry Hill NJ and the Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, CO.