ELCIC delegates approve resolution on Peace and Justice in Palestine and Israel

July 2, 2023

An amended motion calling the church to respond to, “opportunities for solidarity and advocacy” and pray for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, was passed during the Saturday evening session of the 2023 ELCIC Special Convention.

The resolution came forward to convention delegates as a joint motion between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and was the result of many months of listening to partner voices and reflecting on existing statements by the World Council of Churches and the Anglican Communion, and review of reports from Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations. It also comes after a visit to the Holy Land by ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson and ACC Archbishop Linda Nicholls in which they listened carefully to the worry, frustration, and challenges of Palestinian Christians and Muslims in the Occupied Territories.

On Friday, during a joint session of Assembly 2023, Anglican and Lutheran delegates received an introduction to the resolution and heard from Bishop Michael Pryse, Eastern Synod, ELCIC; Bishop Andrew Asbil, Diocese of Toronto, ACC; and Rabbah Gila Caine, Rabbi at Temple Beth Ora congregation, Edmonton.

“The resolution before us today is informed by the voices of our partners in the Holy Land – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem – who are pleading for us to accompany them in prayer and in action,” said Bishop Pryse.

Following the joint discussion, the resolution was part of the separate business sessions of the Special Convention and General Synod in order to be formally addressed and voted on.

On the floor of the ELCIC Special Convention, discussion on the motion centred around an amendment to remove recommendation four, which called for reflection and study to, “reflect upon the parallels between the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and lands and the experience of broken treaties and the occupation of unceded territories of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.” During the earlier joint session of the two churches, Rabbah Caine, shared her concern over the same recommendation.

The amendment to remove recommendation four was passed. ELCIC Special Convention delegates passed the amended motion overwhelmingly in favour.

  • Jordan Smith, possibility of removing the challenging language (part 4) – some of the effect of the recommendation is lost if this goes to COGS, NCC
  • Aneeta, tremendously in favour for what we did today, Rabbi Cane was allowed to speak and address some concerns that needed to happen in what this resolution was saying. The response from our two churches was to have more conversation. “put your action with your words.”
  • Shayne ABT – concern that section 4 put our lens onto someone else’s experience
  • Tanch – BC – We had a panel … peace for both sides. Grateful for the Rabbi’s perspective. No Palestinians on the panel. How can we have conversation around justice and peace on both sides without presence…
  • BC Synod –
  • What does it mean to have one group amend the document already? We should take as long as it takes to get it right.
  • Lynne H, MNO –
  • NCC – Section f, page 10. – new 5e (now 6e – r…)

The resolution emerges at a critical time in the long trajectory of violent conflict between Palestinians and Israelis over the past 75 years.

Matthew 10:40-42


40 “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

John 15:12-17

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

John 21:15-19

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Luke 11:33-36

The Light of the Body

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bushel basket; rather, one puts it on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but if it is unhealthy, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. 36 But if your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”

Matthew 8:1-4

Jesus Cleanses a Man

8 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him, and there was a man with a skin disease who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be made clean!” Immediately his skin disease was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”