Dear Brother Priests, Deacons and Subdeacons, Men and Women Religious, and Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The crisis in Syria and Iraq continues, and our thoughts are ever with our brothers and sisters enduring unimaginable hardships. Thousands have been forced to abandon their native homes, entire communities have been abducted, women and girls sold into sex slavery, boys forced to fight alongside ISIS, many have been martyred for their faith. Churches, schools, and monasteries are closed, occupied and destroyed.
I write to tell you of my experience with the new organization entitled In Defense of Christians (IDC), which seeks to equip American Christians with tools of unity, advocacy, and awareness to respond to this crisis. Their nonpartisan approach is markedly ecumenical, uniting Middle Eastern Christians, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, to form a coherent and coordinated voice of Christian concern to national and international leaders and the global community.
This September 9-11, IDC will hosts an inaugural National Leadership Convention in Washington DC “Mobilizing America for Christians in the Middle East.” The program includes:
- An “Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christians in the Middle East”
- Political advocacy in Congress
- Press conferences and policy round tables with leading experts to develop needed responses and solutions to this crisis
- A capstone Solidarity Dinner to “Mobilize Americans for Christians in the Middle East” the evening of September 11
- A full program of the events, which can be found at idcconvention.org.
They would also like to invite us to promote the three-day National Leadership Convention among our parishes and communities, so that interested members might be able to attend and be equipped with the tools to mobilize our local communities across ecumenical lines upon return.
Attached to this correspondence is a flyer for the IDC National Leadership Conference (IDCflyer2015) , where further information on programming and registration can be found.
Pope Francis has called us to live in solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, in what he calls an “ecumenism of blood”. We continue to encourage our priests, religious and lay faithful to stand in solidarity with Christians in the Middle East.