ELCA Supports A Shared Jerusalem

12/20/1996 12:00:00 AM


The Rev. H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has
added his signature to a full-page ad regarding the city
of Jerusalem developed for publication in the "New
York Times.?  Under the headline ?Heritage, Hope and
Home of Two People and Three Religions,? the ad
calls for Jerusalem to be shared by Israelis and
Palestinians when the stalled peace process
resumes.  The ad urges the U.S. government to ?call
upon negotiators to move beyond exclusivists? claims
and create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a
symbol of reconciliation.  It is expected to be published
Dec. 21.  The placement of the ad comes at a point
when Clinton and other U.S. foreign policy leaders are
advising Israel not to block negotiations by expanding
settlements in the West Bank.  With more than 265
individual and group signatures to date, the text of the
ad says, ?Jerusalem at peace cannot belong
exclusively to one people, one country or one religion.
Jerusalem should be open to all, shared by all ... two
people and three religions.?  It continues, ?As
Christians committed to working for peace, we
support a negotiated solution for Jerusalem that
respects the human and political rights of both
Palestinians and Israelis, as well as the rights of the
three religious communities.?  The ad was developed
by Churches for Middle East Peace, an ecumenical
partnership that includes the ELCA.  In April 1996 the
ELCA Church Council urged that free access to
Jerusalem be guaranteed for all peoples at all times
and called upon the international community to respect
and protect the unique historical nature of Jerusalem
as sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.  ELCA
members were called to "pray for the peace of
Jerusalem, remembering the suffering and the hope of
both Palestinians and Israelis and the challenges their
leaders face as they work to move the peace process
forward.  In 1995 the Rev. Herbert W. Chilstrom,
Anderson?s predecessor, and other high-ranking
Christian leaders called on Clinton to press Israel to
stop seizing land and constructing settlements in

For information contact: Ann Hafften, Dir., ELCA News
Service, (312) 380-2958 or AHAFFTEN@ELCA.ORG;
Frank Imhoff, Assoc. Dir., (312) 380-2955 or
FRANKI@ELCA.ORG; Melissa Ramirez, Assist. Dir.,
(312) 380-2956 or MRAMIREZ@ELCA.ORG


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