Moderator Rev David Fotheringham participated in an ecumenical and interfaith service at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne on Friday, organised to assure the Jewish and Muslim communities in Australia that their grief, anxiety and concern for loved ones in the wake of recent conflict in the Middle East is shared by all.
David stood alongside leaders from a range of faith communities to express their common yearnings for peace at a time of much sorrow, to mark their commitment to unity and the recognition of the image of the divine in all, and to mark their resolve, as a matter of love, to always condemn antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, vilification and violence in any form.
David led one of the prayers in the service, which was based on the following statement:
“This is a time of the deepest grief and pain, in the violence and grief felt throughout Israel, through all the population of Gaza, and impacting communities all around the world.
“We share the horror at the events which have unfolded in Israel and Gaza.
“We recognise, and pray for the communities in Australia that are rocked by the pain of the violence, by the shattering of families, by the grief of loss and the fear and threat to hostages.
“In this situation in which there is now so much loss, and so much ongoing devastation of civilian life, we cry out in the shared pain, and we ache and ask for an end of armed hostility – for a ceasefire in this battle which has already caused levels of devastation which will echo for generations.
“We hold before God our prayers for all civilians whose security and peace is shattered.
“We confess our sorrow that the world has not yet found a way to guarantee safety and peace for all.
“We pray for our neighbouring communities and friends in the grief that they experience.
“We pray that in our shared humanity, all seekers of peace will find hope.”