Two Peoples, One Church

world evangelical alliance
Image courtesy of World Evangelical Alliance

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is coordinating relief work with Christians on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border.

The outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas has produced horrible levels of human tragedy, with no end in sight. Many of the world’s 600 million evangelical Christians have wanted to help, but their response has been complicated by divided loyalties, with many Christians on both sides of the war-ravaged border and intensely held political views on each side.

Amidst this unfolding disaster, the world’s largest evangelical Christian organization has come forward with a balanced, strategic solution that incorporates prayer and action and reflects Christ’s love for all people: send aid to the needy in both Gaza and southern Israel, through their excellent on-the-ground connections in both locations.

The World Evangelical Alliance is best known for unifying the global evangelical community and giving it a voice at the United Nations on religious freedom issues and in relations with other major religious bodies. But WEA also has an impressive track record of aiding war-torn areas effectively. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the WEA raised funds globally and channeled them through local contacts in Ukraine and neighboring nations to which Ukrainians were fleeing. It also gained rare permission to provide humanitarian assistance in Russian-occupied Crimea.

Now the WEA is drawing on its strong global networks and its emergency relief capacities to deliver humanitarian aid through trusted local partners to those who most need it in Gaza and Israel.

Sustaining the Faithful in Gaza

On the Gaza side of the conflict, the WEA is partnering with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional evangelical alliance, which has extensive connections with local relief activities. The main goal is to restore the Baptist Hospital, which was hit by an air strike on Oct. 17, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

The MENA alliance will leverage the on-site relief capacities of the Bethlehem-based Shepherd Society, which has been assisting Palestinians in Gaza since 2007.

“This collaborative approach ensures that aid and support reach the affected communities efficiently and effectively,” said Dirk Gerlach, director of the WEA’s Crisis Response Coordination Center, who developed the plan.

The project aims to rehabilitate the x-ray facility, emergency room, and patient rooms at the Baptist Hospital, as well as to replenish medicines and medical supplies. Gerlach said the WEA and its partners also intend to provide food boxes for 3,000 families. They will also supply spiritual and psychological support through group, individual, and online counseling.

Another key to the WEA’s effectiveness is its political neutrality, which enables it to maintain harmonious relationships with both Israeli and Palestinian governments.

“In our crisis response, we work through local church structures and mobilize local church members,” Gerlach explained. “We can therefore respond immediately and have no problems of access to the victims, unlike foreign aid organizations that are at greater risk of being blocked due to perceived political motives.”