THE BISHOP OF GUILDFORD, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill has today signed a statement released from the President of the Conference of European Churches, regarding the current situation in Syria.
As president of the Conference of European Churches, Bishop Christopher has joined the President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, PÃ©ter Cardinal Erd?, in urging all nations to â€˜put first the path of dialogue rather than armsâ€™.
The statement invites all Churches in Europe to unite on 7 September in a day of fasting and prayer, proposed by Pope Francis, for peace in Syria.
The full statement follows:
â€œIn the face of the suffering, destruction and death which the noble Syrian people have been enduring for too long, we reaffirm our 'No' to war.
â€œAt this time our thoughts are especially with all the Christian faithful and their families who have been particularly affected by the conflict in Syria, through killings and a mass exodus which risks wiping out a more than thousand-year-long presence in that area of the world.
â€œWe are aware that true peace can only come from God. To him we must entrust the anguished hearts of humanity, to him we must pray for our inner peace and that of the peoples in conflict.
â€œWe invite all the faithful of our Churches in Europe to unite with us and the international community in the day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, Saturday 7 September, proposed by Pope Francis.
â€œTo all nations, especially those gathered at St Petersburg for the G20 summit, we want to send a reminder, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Pope Francis and many other leaders of our Churches, to put first the path of dialogue rather than arms.
â€œWe exhort everyone to look to God to enter on the path which brings an end to hostilities, putting weapons down and opening the way to negotiation, dialogue, reconciliation and peace. It is never too late to build a future together. This peace so longed for can only be achieved together, never by the abuse of one over the other.
â€œWe are sure that, with God's help, good sense can prevail and bring about a peaceful living side-by-side in truth, justice, love, freedom and respect for all minorities, especially the Christians in the country.â€