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O On this Orthodox Easter, we pray again for peace. We pray for resurrection life.  And we also pray that two churches, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, may be able to be ambassadors of peace.   To that end, I also share with you today this letter, dated MARCH 16, 2022. I did not previously post it, but today seems like a fitting day to do so.
The CRCNA executive director, Colin P. Watson, Sr., joined 100 other Christian leaders from across the United States in sending a letter to the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, asking him to use his influence to end the invasion in Ukraine. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is known to have a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has been criticized for his support of the expansion of Russian power into places such as Ukraine.   The ecumenical letter was organized by Wes Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary emeritus of the Reformed Church in America, and Jim Wallis, head of Georgetown University’s Center on Faith and Justice. 

“We write you as brothers and sisters in Christ,” the letter began. “Some of us have worked with you in fellowship in ecumenical settings. All of us serve in various positions of leadership and service in churches and Christian organizations. We know well the heavy responsibilities and challenges which rest on you, and all those called by God to be shepherds and servants of God’s people.”

The religious leaders then made an “earnest plea” to Kirill to use his “voice and profound influence to call for an end to the hostilities and war in Ukraine and intervene with authorities in [his] nation to do so.”

Watson said that signing the letter was an important way for religious leaders to band together during this season of Lent, to lament the loss of life they are witnessing, and to encourage action to stop it.

“The letter was not intended to be political,” he said. “We believe God is peace-loving and that Christians should be advocates for peace when we see war and destruction taking place needlessly. A joint letter is our way to do that.”

The complete transcript of the letter follows:

His Holiness Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Russian Orthodox Church

Your Holiness,

With broken hearts, we are making an earnest plea that you use your voice and profound influence to call for an end to the hostilities and war in Ukraine and intervene with authorities in your nation to do so. We all are witnessing the tragic and terrible loss of innocent civilian life and the grave dangers of escalation posing the deepest threats to peace in the world. Moreover, we grieve for the ways the body of Christ is being torn asunder by warring factions. The peace desired by our common Lord demands that this immoral warfare end, halting the bombing, shelling, and killing, and withdrawing armed forces to their previous boundaries.

We make this appeal with no political agenda. Before God, we bear witness that there is no religious justification from any side for the destruction and terror the world is witnessing daily. Our first allegiance is always to our Lord Jesus Christ. This transcends the narrow claims of all nations and ideologies.

We are in the season of Lent. In that Lenten spirit, we ask you to prayerfully reconsider the support you have given to this war because of the horrendous human suffering it has unleashed.

In this moment, as the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, you have the holy opportunity to play an historic role in helping to bring a cessation of senseless violence and a restoration of peace. We pray you will do so, and our prayers will accompany you.

Respectfully Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Rev. Eddy Alemán, General Secretary, Reformed Church in America
Bishop Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor of The Park Church, Baptist
Reverend Massimo Aprile, Baptist Pastor in Milano (Italy), Unione Cristiana Evangelica Battista d’Italia
Dr. Ruth Bentley, Administrative Executive Director, National Black Evangelical Association
Rev. Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie, Senior Pastor, Mt. Zion Baptist Church Farnham, VA
Dr. Amos C Brown, Senior pastor, Third Baptist
Bishop Mariann Budde  Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
Rev. Eugene Cho, President and CEO, Bread for the World
Mr. Shane Claiborne, cofounder, Red Letter Christians
Professor David Cortright, Professor Emeritus, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
Bro. Paul Crawford, Capuchin Province of St. Mary – JPIC Chair; President of the Franciscan Action Network Board of Directors, Catholic
The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church
Mr. Merwyn De Mello, Peacebuilder, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington, D.C.
Marie Dennis, Senior Advisor, Co-President (2007-2019), Pax Christi International
Rev. Julian DeShazier, Pastor, University Church
Rev. Norman Dowe, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The National Black Evangelical Association
Friend Christie Duncan-Tessmer, General Secretary, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Dr. Michele Dunne, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley, Board Chair, Interfaith Power & Light
Rev Dr Bob Ekblad, Executive Director, Tierra Nueva
Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin, Laney Professor in Moral Leadership, Emory University
Rev. Rock Fremont, Jr., VP Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, International Council of Community Churches
Rev. Joel Gibson, Micah Interfaith Coalition, Protestant Episcopal Church in America
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Ms. Susan Gunn, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Rev. Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University
Dr. Mimi Haddad, President, CEO, CBE International
Reverend Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director, American Baptist Home Mission Societies
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Minister for Economic Justice, United Church of Christ
Rev. Dr. Richard Hamm, Former General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada
Ms. Lisa Sharon Harper, President and Founder, Freedom Road, LLC
Rev. Fred Harrell, Senior Pastor, City Church San Francisco
Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Senior Fellow, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President Emerita, Auburn Seminary Dr. Obery Hendricks, Visiting Scholar, Columbia University
Rev. Mitchell Hescox, President/C.E.O., The Evangelical Environmental Network
Mrs. Shirley Hoogstra, President, CCCU – Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada
Rev. Dr. Nathan Hosler, Director, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, Church of the Brethren
Dr. Albert Y. Hsu, Editor
Ms. Marj Humphrey, Director of Mission, Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Ms. Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment
Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, President, Churches Uniting in Christ, Chair of the Board, National Council of Churches
Rev. Mark Judkins, Director of Finance and Administration, Christian Community Development Association
Archbishop Dionysius John Kawak, Patriarchal Vicar, Syriac Orthodox Church Dr. Kelvin Kellum, General Secretary, Friends United Meeting
Rev. Dr. Walter Kim, President, National Association of Evangelicals
Bishop Jeffrey Leath, Ecumenical Officer, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church
Rev. Carlos L. Malave, President, Latino Christian National Network
Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO, Catholic Charities USA
Rev Michael Mata, Pastor, Church of the Nazarene
Reverend Michael Ray Mathews, President, Alliance of Baptists
Dr. Eli McCarthy, Professor, Georgetown University
Dr. Walter Arthur McCray, President, National Black Evangelical Association
Rev. Terrance M. McKinley, Senior Pastor, Campbell AME Church, Director of Racial Justice, Sojourners
Urban Missionary Rosa Mercado, Executive Admin./Operations Associate, Christian
Mr. Noah Merrill, Yearly Meeting Secretary, New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
Most Rev. Anthony Mikovsky, Prime Bishop, Polish National Catholic Church
Mr. Ted Miles, Executive Director, Maryknoll Lay Missioners
Sr. MariaLeonor Montiel, General Secretary, Maryknoll Sisters
Bishop Darin Moore, Presiding Prelate, Mid-Atlantic Episcopal District, AME Zion Church
Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, MM, Superior General, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
Sr. Genie Natividad, Vice President, Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic
Mr. David Neff, Editor (retired), Christianity Today
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly , Presbyterian Church (USA)
Ms. Mary Novak, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Dr. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Coordinator, INFEMIT
Rev. Dr. Glenn Palmberg, President Emeritus, Evangelical Covenant Church
Dr. Larry Rasmussen, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary, United Church of Christ
Mr. Stephen Reeves, Director of Advocacy, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Bishop Dr. Raymond Rivera, Founder, Christian
Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra, Academic Dean, Centro Latino, Fuller Theological Seminary
Mr. Rick Santos, President and CEO, Church World Service
Rev. Dr. Robert Schenck, President, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute
Dr. Stephen Schneck, Catholic Activist and Writer, Independent Scholar
Sr. Ann Scholz, SSND, Associate Director for Social Mission, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Dr. Ronald Sider, Founder, Christians for Social Action
Reverend Jane Siebert, President, The Swedenborgian Church of North America
Sister Patrica A. Siemen, OP, Prioress/President, Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan
Rev. Gail Song Bantum, Lead Pastor, Quest Church
Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director, National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Bishop John Stowe, Bishop-President, Pax Christi USA
Rev. Richard Tafel, Pastor, Swedenborgian Church of North America
Ms. Heather Taylor, Managing Director, Bread for the World
Rev. Adam Taylor, President, Sojourners
Rev. John Thomas, General Minister and President (retired), United Church of Christ (USA)
Rev. Dr. Al Tizon, Professor, North Park Theological Seminary
Rev. Jim Wallis, Director, Center on Faith and Justice, Georgetown University
Pastor Colin Watson, Executive Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America
Mr. Michael Wear, Founder, Public Square Strategies
Reverend Cecilia Williams, President and CEO, Christian Community Development Association
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network
Mr. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Director, School for Conversion
Mr. Philip Yancey, Author, multiple books
Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, Executive Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, USA
Mr. Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Sister Elizabeth Zwareva, Congregational Leadership Team Member, Maryknoll Sisters


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