A Message from Bishop Scharf Regarding the War In Israel

Dear Beloved in Christ,

Less than one week ago, war erupted in the Middle East after the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. Over the course of the last several days, images of war have saturated our television screens as the conflict has continued to intensify. Hundreds have died, many more are injured or displaced from their homes, and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is deepening as thousands of innocent civilians are caught in the middle of this regional conflict.

Along with Christians around the world, we unequivocally condemn any acts of terrorism or violence that target civilians, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or faith. We pray for those who have been killed and injured; those being held hostage; those who are searching for loved ones; and those struggling with grief and fear. We join the religious leaders in the Middle East who are calling for “political leaders and authorities to engage in sincere dialogue, seeking lasting solutions that promote justice, peace, and reconciliation for the people of this land, who have endured the burdens of conflict for far too long.” And we pray for peace and justice in the Name of the One who is the Prince of Peace:


O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


I have included additional resources that you might find helpful as you provide pastoral leadership in your congregations, communities, homes, and schools. May the God of all peace grant us mercy and wisdom now and always.


Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Douglas F. Scharf

Sixth Bishop of Southwest Florida



Prayer Resources


Episcopal Office of Government Relations: The Episcopal Church is a founding member of the Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). The Office of Government Relations website includes a call for prayer, a statement from CMEP, and additional links to the Diocese of Jerusalem and the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.


Resources of Families and Students


Recognizing the impact of violent media and limiting exposure: We recognize the challenge of staying educated and informed while protecting students’ and families’ mental health. We advise those students and adults who [access television or] online content to consider limiting their media usage in the coming days, and updating settings on devices to limit exposure to content that hurts their mental health.


Talking with students during crises: We highly recommend this guide, published by the American Psychological Association. It offers valuable insights into handling such situations with care and understanding.”