Dear friends of Mennonite Central Committee in Iran:
We write to you in solidarity and friendship at a time of great military tension. With the biblical prophet, we lament that “destruction and violence are before [us]; strife and contention arise” (Habakkuk 1:3, NRSV).
As followers of Jesus we are deeply committed to peace.
Since 1990, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff and friends have been privileged to enter with you and other Iranians into spaces of dialogue, learning and friendship. Over the years, our understanding and commitment to the gospel have been deepened by conversations with you about theology and faith. MCC staff have seen firsthand the beauty and richness of your ancient culture.
Throughout all these years, there have also been strife and tension between the governments of the United States and Iran, which now have reached an unprecedented level. Our hearts are deeply troubled by the aggressive actions taken by the U.S. government and the potential for this to continue to escalate into further violence. We recognize the fear and grief this is causing for many Iranian families across the globe.
We continue to pray and work fervently for peace and understanding between our countries and peoples. We are actively encouraging actions that take us away from violence and toward a negotiated peace. We know that our wellbeing is inseparable from yours.
Human beings are members of one another
All created from the same precious jewel
When, in the course of life,
Pain comes to a member,
The other members cannot remain at peace.
When you do not grieve at the suffering of others
You cannot be called by the name “human.”
—Persian poet Sa’adi Shirzai (1210–91)
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another ...
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
—Romans 12:15–16, 18
In faith and hope for a more peaceful future,
J Ron Byler
Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Rick Cober Bauman
Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee Canada