Open letter of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland to Bishop Sani Ibrahim Azar
Dear Brother in Christ,
We greet you on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Referring to your statement “Liberation, not annexation” on Pentecost 2020, we wish to assure you that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland supports and prays for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and its work for peace and reconciliation.
With you we hope and pray for a just peace for our sisters and brothers of all faiths – Jews, Christians and Muslims – and everyone living in the Holy Land. With your church we pray for a peace that will enable the peoples of Palestine and Israel to live safely as neighbours.
We acknowledge the letter sent by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) to the foreign ministers of the European Union on 8 May 2020, which says “the WCC and the MECC are committed to the vision of a just peace for all people in the Holy Land. But the unilateral annexation of yet more of the territory that remains to Palestinians cannot lead to justice or to peace, but only to greater injustice, dispossession, escalating tensions, regional destabilization, and the further erosion of respect for international law.” This is true, and we therefore cannot accept the suggested plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
We support the commitment of the European Union to a negotiated and viable two-state solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both Palestinians and the Israelis. We acknowledge the work of the Government of Finland to advance a just peace in the region.
We ask you to convey our warmest greetings and prayers to all our Christian sisters and brothers in the Holy Land.
Yours in Christ,
Tapio Luoma, Archbishop of Turku and Finland
Jari Jolkkonen, Bishop of Kuopio
Simo Peura, Bishop of Lapua; member of the Central Committee, World Council of Churches
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland