Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | October 22, 2023

Congregation Update: Praying for Reconciliation and Peace

Blog|The Rev. Canon Dr. Greg Kimura, Ph. D.

Dear Friends,

The attention of the world has been breathlessly focused on a sliver of land in the Middle East. Our hearts and consciences have been overwhelmed by the news each day.  

Hamas’ horrific attack and kidnapping of civilians in Israel and Israel’s military reaction and call for mass migration to south Gaza have us all desperate for a humane resolution to this flare-up in an ages-long conflict. President Biden’s visit to the area underscored US support for Israel while issuing a joint statement with European leaders that “recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” 

The bombing of an Anglican hospital in Gaza brought condemnation and finger-pointing to responsibility. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a statement on Wednesday, calling the bombing an “atrocity [that] violates the sanctity and dignity of human life.” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry recalled his visit to the hospital in Holy Week of 2018 and his sorrow over the damage to the vital ministry it provides and asked for donations for the hospital. Leaders from all backgrounds have called the faithful to a time of renewed prayer. Prayer is always a good thing. Prayer brings healing, even amidst tragedy. 

The Grace Cathedral Chapter and Social Justice Working Group helped craft a prayer that has been shared on social media and at our daily worship. Last Thursday, prior to Evensong, we met on the steps and plaza to pray for “peace and reconciliation” in Gaza and Israel before processing into church. 

The entrance to Grace Cathedral has become a natural gathering place for all San Franciscans, regardless of religion or no religion, to meet and show mutual support in times of crisis. The situation in Gaza and Israel is no different. We are also open every day for individual prayer and meditation. We gather in person and online for corporate worship throughout the week

We invite you to join us in renewed prayer. We pray that peace and reconciliation come to this part of the world. And when we run out of language to describe tragedy, and are unsure of the right way forward, we take heart in knowing the Spirit intercedes on our behalf, “with sighs too deep for words.” (Rom 8:26). 

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