Quakers in Britain welcome the decision yesterday by the Church of England General Synod to support the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
The EAPPI sends human rights observers, called ecumenical accompaniers, to work with Israelis and Palestinians to bring a just peace to the region based on international law. Set up by the World Council of Churches, EAPPI advocates an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Quakers administer, train and support the EAs on behalf of British and Irish churches and agencies.
Helen Drewery, General Secretary of Quaker Peace and Social Witness said: “Within hours of hearing the General Synod vote, we also heard of further attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians living in the village of Yanoun, while tending their crops and flocks. We see Synod’s affirmation of EAPPI as strengthening its nonviolent efforts to bring peace to the region.”
During the Synod debate, an observer from the Church of Scotland, the Very Revd Dr Alan McDonald pointed out that The Church of Scotland and Methodist Church have been involved with EAPPI for many years and said: “This motion is an ecumenical matter. With respect, your ecumenical partners would be astonished if you didn’t support the motion.”
The motion, brought forward by John Dinnen, (Hereford diocese) called for Synod to affirm its support for the “vital work” of the EAPPI, encouraging parishioners to volunteer and asking churches and synods to listen to returning EAs; support for mission and other aid agencies working among Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and in the region; support for Israelis and Palestinians working for justice and peace in the area, such as the Parents Circle-Family Forum; and support for Palestinian Christians and organisations that work to ensure their continuing presence in the region.
The motion was passed unamended. Twenty one bishops voted for the motion, three against, with 14 abstentions; clergy voted eighty nine in favour, twenty one against with forty four abstentions and lay members of synod voted ninety one in favour, thirty against with thirty five abstentions.
Notes to editors:
To interview EAs, call Anne van Staveren on 07958 009703.