Diocesan Policy

The Policy of the Diocese of Pennsylvania on Israel/Palestine

1989: R-25 ON ISRAEL/PLO

RESOLVED: That the 206th Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania join with other Christian churches in affirming the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the human rights of all its citizens, and in acknowledging also the rights of Palestinian Arabs for self-determination, their own representatives, and the establishment of their own state. In addition, the Convention affirms its support of the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, ever mindful of the need for vigilance and ceaseless efforts by the Church, the international community, and the participants in this bitter conflict.     ADOPTED

1990: R-12, THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-ARAB CONFLICT

RESOLVED: That the 207th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, recognizing that no peace is possible in the Middle East without security for the State of Israel and self-determination in their homeland for Palestinian people, urges our government to intensify its efforts to bring about a just and peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestinian-Arab conflict, which resolution is fundamental to the creation of a dynamic for peace in the Middle East.

FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Secretary of Convention be instructed to forward copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Senators from Pennsylvania and congressional representatives of the areas covered by the Diocese of Pennsylvania. ADOPTED

1991: RESOLUTION RESPONDING TO BISHOP BARTLETT’S ADDRESS

RESOLVED: That the 208th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania commend the heroic efforts of James A. Baker, Secretary of State, in bringing the diverse parties of the Middle East together to begin the hard work of establishing peace with justice in the Middle east, and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED: That this Convention ask all members of this Diocese to keep the peace process in our daily prayers. ADOPTED

1991: R-17, ON THE MIDDLE EAST

RESOLVED: That the 208th Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, in accordance with statements of the Anglican Primates and the 70th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, reaffirm its support of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Province of the Middle East, and its Bishop Samir Kafity, in its prophetic role of promoting peace, justice and reconciliation in the region, and expresses its solidarity with all Christians in the Middle East, particularly our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED: That toward this end, that this Convention:

  1. Encourage groups from this Diocese to journey to Jerusalem to lend support to the Christian community there; and
  2. Seek to establish an ongoing program of exchange visits between members of this Diocese and the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Province of the Middle East for the purpose of advancing dialogue on issues of peace and justice in the Middle East; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED: that this Convention, in order to begin to implement the recommendation of the 70th General Convention regarding study and dialogue with respect to Christian/Muslim/Jewish relations and issues of peace, justice and reconciliation in the Middle East within this year:

  1. urges all parishes of this Diocese to engage in programs of such study and dialogue, making use of the supportive resources of the Committee on Peacemaking and other organizations of this Diocese as they see fit;
  2. authorizes this Diocese, through the Committee on Peacemaking, to cosponsor a conference on the Middle East with the Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East; and
  3. will work towards establishing a funding source to assist clergy and lay people from this Diocese to visit, study or participate in volunteer ministry in the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Province of the Middle East. ADOPTED

1992: R-15 ON THE MIDDLE EAST.

RESOLVED: That this 209th Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania commend the Middle East peace talks sponsored by the United States government.

RESOLVED: That this Convention express its solidarity with fellow Christians in the Holy Land, especially our brother and sister Anglicans in the Diocese of Jerusalem, and view with regret the continuing exodus of indigenous people and therefore the corresponding diminishing Christian presence in the land of our Lord’s birth.

RESOLVED: That this Convention urge parishes and people of this Diocese to pray regularly for, and enter into dialogue with, Christians from the Holy Land, and to this end support the following:

  1. The establishment of sister relationships between parishes of this Diocese and parishes and institutions in the Diocese of Jerusalem;
  2. Pilgrimage and study tours endorsed by the Diocese of Jerusalem or the Middle East Council of Churches thereby allowing us to express our support through our physical presence, and promoting wider understanding and knowledge of local Christian concerns;

FURTHER RESOLVED: That a copy of this resolution, along with the greetings of this Convention, be forwarded to the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and their Bishop, Samir Kafity.

FURTHER RESOLVED: That this Convention establish under the guidance of the Bishop a Middle East Study Group to make recommendations pursuant to this resolution and to report its activities to Convention.      ADOPTED

1997: R-9 ON CHURCH INVESTMENTS IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE

RESOLVED: The Convention request the Church Foundation of the Diocese of Pennsylvania to determine annually its current investments in companies:

  • In or with settlements in territories occupied by the State of Israel
  • Under the jurisdiction of the Palestine Authority, and

FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Convention request the Church Foundation to report in writing the nature of such investments and related business in June of each year to the Secretary of Convention, and that the availability of this report be published in The Pennsylvania Episcopalian in a timely manner and that the complete report (revised as needed) be submitted to the next succeeding Convention.

(Resolution referred to the Bishop for selection of an appropriate group to do this study)    ADOPTED

2000: R-9A (substitute) ON THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

RESOLVED: That the 217th Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania

  1. Express its deepest sorrow, profound grief, and real tears for all who have been killed or injured in the recent conflict in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, and humbly commend the souls of those who have died to the care of our righteous, merciful and loving God;
  2. Pray fervently that God have mercy on those responsible;
  3. Call upon all sides to refrain from violence and from the use of disproportionate military force in response to unarmed protest;
  4. Urge that the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel return to negotiations at the earliest possible date in a spirit of mutual respect, seeking a peace based in justice, liberty, and mutual security;
  5. Request the Bishop of Pennsylvania to (a) call us this day to prayer for these concerns, as he sees fit, and (b) proclaim a Diocesan time of prayer and study, seeking a deeper understanding of the issues of justice, peace, and the Christian presence in the Middle East. and be it further

RESOLVED: That this Convention direct the Secretary of Convention and such other persons as the Bishop may appoint to

  1. Request the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem to convey, as he deems best, the above resolution to those who have been injured and to the families of the dead;
  2. Communicate the above resolution to the President and Secretary of State of the United States, the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Prime Minister of Israel, our senators and representatives in Congress, and leaders of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith communities in the several counties of this Diocese.    ADOPTED

2002: RE-14, DIOCESAN RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH A SUNDAY IN EPIPHANY FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE.

RESOLVED: that the 219th Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania promote understanding of the Middle East and support peace in the region by designating a Sunday in Epiphany as Middle East Peace Sunday, and urge congregations on that day to study the sources of conflict and the ways toward peace in that region; and be it further

RESOLVED: that the Diocese of Pennsylvania endorse and encourage congregations to support “Jerusalem 2000.”

References: Psalm 122:6a: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Matthew 5:9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

The Resolution was approved as written.

2011: APPROACHING GENERAL CONVENTION CONCERNING PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS

 RESOLVED: that the 228th Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania submits the attached resolution, “Pursuing a Just Peace in the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict,” on support for Palestinian Christians, to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

RESOLVED: that, between now and the 2012 General Convention, the Diocese of Pennsylvania implement its own study of the Holy Land with the resources mentioned in the attached resolution.          ADOPTED

See Resolution to the 77th General Convention, “Pursuing a Just Peace in the Palestinian/ Israeli Conflict.”

The above resolution intends that the Diocese study the Holy Land using Kairos Palestine and the Steadfast Hope course.

Pursuing a Just Peace in the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict

Resolved, the House of ____________concurring, that the 77th General Convention, mindful of the impasse in reaching a just resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, calls on the Executive Council (using appropriate staff) to develop and implement a strategy of advocacy and education in the Church during the next triennium to further a just resolution of the conflict utilizing existing policies and resources, including but not limited to the following:

– A robust use of the Episcopal Public Policy Network in promoting Church policies in our nation’s capital

– Participating in corporate social responsibility by more vigorous and public corporate engagement with companies in the Church’s investment portfolio that do business in illegal Israeli settlements or contribute to the infrastructure of the Occupation

– Identifying a project of economic engagement through a loan of at least $200,000 from the Church’s economic justice loan fund that strengthens the economic infrastructure of the Territories

– Assist individual Episcopalians by providing information on products made and distributed from illegal Israeli settlements so that they can make informed consumer choices

– an examination of actions the U.S. might take to support international law and human rights

and be it further

Resolved that Council include in its planning a study in the next triennium in every Diocese of “KAIROS PALESTINE 2009” released in December 2009 by Palestinian Christian leaders to address the plight of Palestinian Christians living under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza as well as those Christians living within the state of Israel who do not enjoy the full rights and privileges of Jewish-Israeli citizens, and be it further

Resolved that the Council further consider using as a resource for this study plan an Episcopal version of Steadfast Hope (adapted from the Presbyterian original) as developed by the Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and be it further

Resolved that the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns give high priority to peace with justice in the Holy Land and report to the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church with recommendations on how best to support our Anglican brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, and be it further

Resolved that all bishops, clergy and lay people of the Episcopal Church in the United States be encouraged to travel to the region as pilgrims and witnesses, and to provide various forms of support for the Church in the Holy Land, including the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, its parishes, and its Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, including through the sterling work of the Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Good Friday Offering, and be it further

Resolved that Convention provide a budget of $5,000 to Council and staff in assisting with this work.

2015: R-8: ACCOMPANYING OUR EPISCOPAL SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN THE HOLY LAND

RESOLVED: That the 232nd Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, through its prayers and actions support the peoples of the Holy Land, especially the Living Stones of our faith, the thousands of Christians who have resided in these sacred lands from the time of the birth of Christ and live there still, among whom are our Palestinian sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, by implementing the following points in the Resolution C018 passed by the 78th General Convention in June of 2015, which reads: “That the Convention affirm the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in healing, education, and pastoral care; Affirm the work of Christians engaged in relationship building, interfaith dialogue, non-violent training, and advocacy rights for the Palestinians; and Urge Episcopalians to demonstrate our solidarity by making pilgrimage to Israel and the Occupied Territories and learning from our fellow Christians in the region.” And be it further

RESOLVED: That the 232nd Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, implement resolution C018 of the 78th General Convention by

  1. Encouraging parishes, deaneries and the Diocese to find ways to support the humanitarian work of the Diocese of Jerusalem through the raising of funds to be sent through American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
  2. Urging parishes to study the issues facing the peoples of the Holy Land, particularly those of our Episcopal brothers and sisters.
  3. Encouraging the Diocese, its youth ministries, and its parishes to consider pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
  4. Participating in the Presiding Bishop’s Good Friday Offering, which provides financial support for Anglican ministries throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

ADOPTED

2015: R-9 PURSUING JUSTICE AND PEACE IN THE HOLY LAND LOCALLY

RESOLVED: that the 232nd Convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania express its profound love and respect for all the peoples of the Holy Land, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. And be it further

RESOLVED: that this Convention express its deep concern about the worsening Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and in particular the almost 50-year occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel and the continuing human rights abuses, loss of lives, and trauma suffered by both the occupied and the occupier. And be it further

RESOLVED: that this Convention express its joy and congratulations to the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry on his election as the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and join with the Rev. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, in his prayer, “that through his leadership the sun of righteousness and justice will shine again on our Episcopal Church and the prophetic voice will again resound and our church will resurrect the prophetic and will once again, courageously, speak truth to power and the God of love, justice and peace will be glorified.” And be it further

RESOLVED: that this Convention

  1. follow the 78th General Convention in reaffirming the vocation of the Church as an agent of reconciliation and restorative justice and in recognizing that such reconciliation must incorporate both political action and locally driven grassroots efforts;
  2. urge members of this Diocese not to increase investments in U.S. companies that profit from the occupation;
  3. engage with local activist groups that work toward a just and peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, seeking a secure, viable, universally recognized state or states serving both Israel and the Palestinian people;
  4. urge its members to engage with ecumenical and interfaith partners in arranging visits to the Holy Land to experience the daily life of fellow Christians, Jews, and Muslims as well as the traditional holy sites.

ADOPTED