Bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa met remotely this week to reflect on and discuss the realities of life for the Christians and peoples of the Holy Land.

Bishop Declan, Moderator of the Holy Land Coordination, said:

“We thank all those in the Holy Land who shared their life stories with us and we stand in solidarity with them and all those who join them in the struggle for peace and justice for”.

They heard time and again, particularly when discussing the current realities in Gaza, how Church-run organisations like hospitals, schools and charities, are punching well above their weight serving the wider community beyond the church walls. In Gaza, for example, the Catholic organisation Caritas facilitates 61% of all healthcare home visits in this Palestinian territory of 2m people. There are only 1,077 Christians in that number – of which 132 are Latin Catholics.

Bishop Declan spoke with James Abbott from the Bishop’s Conference about the online co-ordination meeting this week.

“It’s the model of the church as servant, as a servant to people in need,” says Bishop Declan. “This love of neighbour is a very practical form of Christianity. Perhaps that’s what we need in the Church in Western Europe – to become a ‘servant church’ – a church that is there to serve the wider community and its needs.”

Bishop Declan Lang also talks about the prospect of peace in the region and where, despite the bleak outlook, we can find hope for the future.