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Praying without ceasing – and work for justice

This Easter, the tragedy in Gaza will be referenced in many sermons, in prayers and liturgies. The suffering, grief and loss is more than can adequately be expressed in words.

Rev. Dr Mitri Raheb, Founder and President of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, recounts a conversation with someone in Gaza City soon after the campus of the Greek Orthodox Church was struck. He struggled to find words, finally saying “We pray for you all.” He recalled, “I thought that these words would calm a sister who dedicated her life for Christ and to a life in prayer. To my surprise, she shouted while crying “We don’t need prayers!” I was meditating on her words for hours. Why would a sister say something like this? The more I thought about it, the more I started understanding her answer. She knew that without an immediate ceasefire, without swift access to food, water, and medicine, and without a just and lasting peace, neither she nor her community would survive this war. Yet, her words were not just about fearing for her life and for the people in Gaza. Her words, in that moment, had something prophetic in them. “Stop thinking you are doing the people in Gaza a favour by praying without working vehemently for justice.”

He went on to reflect: Her prophetic words reminded me of the words of the prophet Amos:
Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Here are two practical ways to offer financial support for humanitarian aid. Pray, pray, pray without ceasing for a resolution. And, consider practical actions you (and your community) might engage in to support the people in desperate need in Gaza.

Act for Peace has set up an appeal (the international humanitarian agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia) for donations to help provide lifesaving medical care and to help respond to this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Click on link for more details. 

The Middle East Council of Churches, Department of the Palestinian Refugees (MECC-DSPR) is also seeking financial contributions. Read more here

This Easter, consider what you may do in addition to the important discipline of prayer. 

MECC-DSPR is a faith-based Christian organization founded in 1949 as a humanitarian response to Al Nakba (the Catastrophe), led and governed by the Four Families of Churches in the Middle East (Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant).

During this unprecedented pain in Gaza, and despite the destruction of most of its clinics and centres as well as the horrific impact on staff, their families and their properties, MECC-DSPR is offering the following services:

• Primary health care services

An average of 500 patients are received daily in the clinic in Rafah. The Clinic offers primary health care services including but not limited to mothers and childcare, dental services, medicine and supplements, medical lab service, conducting health awareness workshops and distributing hygiene/dignity kits.

  • Mental Health & Psychosocial Support
    MECC-DSPR organizes MHPSS interventions with the forcibly displaced people in the south of the Gaza Strip, including offering Psychological First Aid, mainly targeting children and women.
  • Cash support: MECC-DSPR is supporting the most marginalized families with an average of 200 USD per household, the focus is on forcibly displaced families living in the tents, women led families, and people with disabilities.
  • Care to the Christians who are taking refuge in the Churches
    MECC-DSPR is assisting approximately 775 Christian individuals who have sought refuge in two churches in Gaza City and the surrounding community. The support includes distributing food, medical supplies, hygiene/dignity kits, as well as offering essential psychosocial care for children and mothers.

MECC-DSPR in Gaza has 103 staff to run the clinics, centres and outreach activities covering the whole Gaza strip. You may wish to support the important work of MECC-DSPR as individuals or as a church community through donating to the following DSPR bank account:

DSPR Bank Account
Beneiciary’s Name: DSPR
Beneiciary’s Address: Augusta Victoria Hospital Jerusalem Beneiciary’s Account
Number: 9490-661508-510

Beneficiary’s Bank
Arab Bank
Al Balad Branch
Ramallah, Palestinian Territory
Bank #: 49
Branch Code: 0864
IBAN: PS96 ARAB 0000 0000 9490 6615 0851 0

Intermediary Bank:
CITI Bank N.A New York –USA

Swift code: