THE Church in Wales's Governing Body has expressed its "profound
dismay" at the deaths of innocent Palestinians, and the expulsion
of Christians from Iraq by Islamic State.
After a debate at its meeting in Lampeter last week, the
Governing Body extended a private member's motion that had
originally been addressed only to Israel, urging it to "find ways
to end threats to its security without the killing of
Its sponsor, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory
Cameron, said that the absence of any call to Hamas or Islamic
State was because he "found it extremely difficult to find anything
sensible to say" to them.
"These are organisations which, sadly, are committed to terror,"
he said. "The Hamas charter says we don't want to hear anything
from the 'Crusading Peoples of the West' about councils or
reconciliation. They explicitly say that they will not listen to
us. And I'm sure that Islamic State are not going to listen to
anything that the Church in Wales says."
The Israeli Embassy in London did listen, he said. "The Church
in Wales has a very tiny voice, but if we speak on this, we might
Denying that he was anti-Israel, he made a direct plea: "You are
not a terrorist organisation. You are a democratic state, and we
expect more of you because of that. Please, please, Israel, don't
do it again."
And to "our friends and all people of peace" facing threats in
Iraq and Syria, he said: "We stand with you. We will not forget you
in our prayers, and we will not cease to bring your plight to the
attention of our politicians."
The Governing Body agreed to an additional clause addressed to
Islamic leaders, proposed by Dr Brian Willott (diocese of
Monmouth). "It has been encouraging, recently, that some Islamic
clerics have condemned the activities of Islamic State," he said.
"It is appropriate for us as the Church to talk to other religious
Several speakers spoke of their visits to Gaza, and to the
Church in Wales's dental clinic in the territory.
The amended motion was unanimously carried with five
abstentions. It expressed the Governing Body's "profound dismay at
the deaths of very many hundreds of innocent Palestinians,
including more than 400 children, in Gaza, and the expulsion of the
entire Christian population of Mosul, Iraq, over the summer". To
the original call to Israel was added a call to the "spiritual
leaders of Islam to confirm their support for communities of
different religions to live together peacefully". The motion
directs the Church's standing committee to find ways to promote its
report of Church in Wales's Governing Body meeting