October 21st 2016 : the following statement has been released by the national HQ of the United Reformed Church, on the situation in Syria:
The destruction of Aleppo must stop.
We are appalled by the attacks on civilians by the Syrian Government, Russian and other forces. Life is a gift of God. The targeting and killing of civilians can never be passed off merely as a consequence of war. Aerial strikes on homes, hospitals and aid convoys are never acceptable, under any circumstances.
The responsibility for such attacks lies first and foremost with those who have carried them out. But the frequency of such attacks in Syria also underlines a failure on the part of the international community to uphold long-established principles concerning the immunity of civilians in conflict. Member states of the United Nations should seek to hold to account the parties responsible for indiscriminate attacks on men, women, children, hospitals, humanitarian and rescue workers, which could be construed as war crimes.
The world cries out for an end to the death and destruction in Syria that daily adds to the largest flight of refugees since the Second World War. We join with our brothers and sisters of other churches and other faiths in praying for the people of Syria. We claim no simple solution to a complex political reality but offer the simple message of our faith: that every life is valued by God and that the slaughter must end now.
The signatories to the statement are:
The General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain – the Revd Lynn Green.
The President of the Methodist Church – the Revd Dr Roger Walton.
The General Secretary of the United Reformed Church – the Revd John Proctor.
The Moderator for the Church of Scotland – the Right Revd Dr Russell Bar.
Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain – Paul Parker
The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon – the Right Revd John Davies. (1)