The Uniting Church in Australia has expressed distress at reports of chemical weapons attacks in Syria earlier this week.
President of the Uniting Church Assembly, Rev Dr Andrew Dutney, has called on the church to join him in praying for those affected by the attacks in Damascus.
“We mourn with the families of those who were killed in these deplorable attacks on civilians.
“In a country that is experiencing such traumatic times, we pray that those affected by this and other attacks are able to receive medical treatment and support.
“We also pray for the peace and safety of Syrian people in their homeland and surrounding countries,” he said.
It has been reported by Syrian activists that more than 1300 people were killed by poisonous gases in the rebel-held area.
Dr Dutney also extended his prayers to Syria earlier this year when two Christian bishops were kidnapped near Aleppo.
Dr Dutney labelled the kidnapping of the bishops, and subsequent murder of a deacon, a senseless act of violence against our Christian brothers carrying out their ministry.
Syria has a substantial Christian population, with around 10% of the population identifying with a number of Christian denominations. There is also a significant diaspora community of Syrian Christians in Australia.
“I ask all Uniting Church members to hold our Syrian brothers and sisters in their prayers in the coming weeks,” said Dr Dutney.
“May they be afforded protection and safety through what is undoubtedly a difficult time for the people of Syria.”
Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, has a Syria Crisis Appeal which provides families with relief packs of clothing, food and household items.
Uniting Church members interested in assisting families in Syria through Act for Peace can find out more at syria.actforpeace.org.au