In a letter to President Obama on April 12, ELCA leaders urged Obama to “take steps to find new avenues toward peace and resolve the war through diplomatic means” in Syria.  In their letter, the ELCA presiding bishop and four synod bishops offered their appreciation for Obama’s chosen “path of restraint,” particularly as the bishops have heard louder calls in recent weeks “for the United States to provide lethal military assistance to the Syrian opposition,” they wrote.

“The volatility of the conflict in Syria continues to lead to violence, suffering, death and people fleeing for safety,” said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, in an interview. “Acknowledging the conflict’s complexity should not cause us to silence our voices or refrain from acts of compassion,” said Hanson. “The letter to President Obama calls for restraint in actions by the United States that could escalate the violence and for renewed efforts to find a resolution that will become a foundation for a lasting peace and a Syrian society that experiences justice and reconciliation.”

Hanson said that through the ELCA’s partnership with The Lutheran World Federation, this church “is aiding Syrian refugees who have fled to Jordan.” The ELCA continues to participate in humanitarian assistance in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, along with other Lutheran companion churches and partner organizations. According to the United Nations, more than 70,000 people have been killed during the two-year civil war in Syria.

“We are steadfast in our support of immediate and unhindered access to assistance by all available means for victims of this war,” the bishops wrote in their letter.

Click here  for the full text of the ELCA leaders’ letter.

Click here to send your own letter to President Obama.

Click here to read more about the current humanitarian situation in Syria.

(text above from ELCA NEWS SERVICE)