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Churches Urge Caution on Syria

Three of Britain's Free Churches have called on the country's leaders to resist a 'hasty response' in relation to events in Syria

On Wednesday (28 August) Prime Minister David Cameron gathered military and security chiefs and key cabinet members for emergency talks to determine its response to a suspected chemical attack near Damascus. MPs will vote on a motion on Syria on Thursday.

Leaders from the Methodist Church in Britain, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church have urged caution, stressing their hope that any response will be guided by the 'desire to achieve peace'. The Churches' statement, released on Wednesday, read:
'At this time of challenge and uncertainty we pray for the people of Syria, thinking especially of those who have suffered or died as a result of an apparent use of chemical weapons near Damascus.

'We also pray for wisdom and discernment from political leaders in Britain and other nations. We urge them to take time for careful consideration and resist hasty response. Syria has experienced a cycle of violence for too long.

'We pray that our nation's response will be guided by the desire to achieve peace and urge our leaders to work with as wide as possible a range of regional partners and with the United Nations.'
The statement was signed by the Revd Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader, Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference and the Revd Dr Michael Jagessar, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church. 

The three Churches have also drawn attention to the 27 August statement from the World Council of Churches (WCC) condemning the use of chemical weapons and calling on UN to fulfil its responsibility to protect Syrians.

See the WCC statement here.

In addition, a prayer has been written by the Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference:

Gracious God,
We pray for all those who suffer from violence;
May they know your healing and peace.
We pray for those who have died and those who are bereaved;
May they be comforted and sustained by your love.
We pray for political leaders in Britain and across the world;
May they seek wisdom and work together for peace.
May your kingdom come, your will be done
And the earth be filled with your glory.

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