Fuseworks Media

‘Hundreds of Christians to walk length of Gaza in NZ cities calling for ceasefire’

Over 200 Christians will be walking the length of the Gaza Strip – 41km – in coming weeks in prayerful solidarity as they call for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, and for the New Zealand government to allow family members of Gazans living in Aotearoa to have humanitarian visas.

The pilgrimages planned in Auckland, Whanganui, Wellington and Christchurch are part of over 145 walks planned in 18 countries around the world as part of the global Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage movement over Lent, the Christian season leading up to Easter. The first pilgrimage in Aotearoa will be Christchurch, this Saturday 9th March, and the last will be in Wellington, on Maundy Thursday – marking the Last Supper before Jesus’ death, and will include a prayer service on the steps of Parliament that MPs from all parties have been invited to attend.

The pilgrimages in Aotearoa have been organised by Common Grace Aotearoa and Aotearoa Christians for Peace in Palestine in response to Palestinian Christians (in New Zealand and the Holy Land) calling for support from fellow Christians about the horror being experienced in Gaza. The walks will stop for prayer at a variety of churches along the way, as well as with Jewish and Muslim friends who are also calling for a lasting ceasefire.

The pilgrimages symbolically mirror the walk from Gaza City to Rafah which Palestinians have been forced to take because of Israel’s military assaults and forced evacuations. In the past four months, Israel’s military attacks have displaced 1.9 million people, over 85% of Gazans. The Israeli military have killed at least 30,000 people in Gaza (with another 8,000 missing), including more than 11,500 children.

Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth is walking the full 41 kilometers in Whanganui and Wellington. He says, “I’m taking part in the walk to witness to the suffering of those involved in this conflict. As I walk, I will be praying for those killed on both sides. Jesus lived a life of non-violence and died a sacrificial death. As His follower, I’m supporting peaceful efforts that give aid and seek an end to the suffering of others.”

Members of the Palestinian community will be taking part too. Katrina Mitchell-Kouttab, who has family members sheltering from bombardment in churches in Gaza says the pilgrimages are an important way of bringing people together at this time: “The pain, suffering and death that the Palestinians are being subjected to on an industrial scale will and must lead to a change in the way the global community operates and how our world moves forward. It must lead to peace and independence for Palestine. Palestine must be free and our dead remembered, our ancestors honored and laid to rest. This is a time for all of us to come together not a time to be torn apart.”

Pilgrimage details:

Christchurch

  • Saturday March 9th,

  • from Rangiora to Christchurch central

  • Contact Cole Yeoman to arrange interviews –

Auckland

  • Saturday 16th March

  • Starting in Grafton and going around the central isthmus

  • Contact Sophie Fasi-Mohenoa to arrange interviews – 021 2024150

Whanganui

  • Saturday 16th March

  • From Castlecliff to Upokongaro and back.

  • Contact Rev Craig Harris to arrange interviews 027 6666031

Wellington

  • Thursday 28th March

  • from Taita to Island Bay

  • Contact Alex Johnston – 021 023 82702

 

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