This Easter, the Presbyterian Church of Wales (PCW) is adding its voice to many other voices, calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. It is believed that since the conflict began in October 2023, more than 40,000 people in Gaza have been killed, around 15,000 of them children. 75,000 have been seriously injured, and 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced. It is thought that famine and disease will soon be Gaza’s “main killer”.

 Every week since October 2023, vigils have gathered across many parts of Wales, an opportunity to stand together and speak out against the gross injustice. There has been a weekly vigil in Caernarfon and Reverend Anna Jane Evans,  a PCW minister in the town, has been an instrumental part of it.

‘They’re amazing to be honest, people just turn up. Sometimes we get up to 70 people, other times only a handful come. Last week we had a Rally inviting other vigils across North Wales to join us, and hundreds came along. Someone comes from Bangor every week by bus. Some come from a faith background, others with political connections, but we are united in our intention to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the violence and killing.

‘Our Assembly Member and local councillors have stood with us, but when we hold a minute of silence we feel that this is very powerful. In the end, there are no words. The atrocities against the Palestinians are so appalling, that remaining in silence is the only response. When we started, a minute’s silence seemed like an eternity, but now we stand together for much longer.

‘It’s about standing up for the rights of Palestinians. When it all started in October, we felt the injustice of their condition but now we demand a ceasefire. And we call on the UK and US governments to stop supplying Israel with the weapons that are killing the Palestinians’.

Reverend Nan Powell Davies, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, is also part of a vigil in Mold. He said: ‘The injustice that the women and children are facing makes me angry, and breaks my heart. I am reminded of the women in the Easter story who stood weeping at the grave. They were mourning the death of a son and a friend and thousands of women in Gaza are in the depths of despair this Easter. They are witnesses to unbelievable ferocity by the Israeli government and army. Enough is enough.’

‘But the cries of the women in Gaza are mirrored in other conflicts around the world and we stand in solidarity with them this Easter.’

Dr Sharon Singsit-Evans is a NHS doctor who lives in Birmingham and is part of the EBC prayer group. Sharon comes from Manipur in North East India, where her tribal group has been driven from their home, land and churches in a violent conflict.

Sharon says: ‘Ten months ago, violence erupted in the North-East Indian state of Manipur. My tribe, Kuki-Zo, a minority community in the state, is suffering violence and displacement.

‘As followers of Christ, how does one hold on to hope in the midst of this dark and hopeless situation?

I feel that God is challenging me and reassuring me and my community with his words “I am about to do a new thing; now it originates, don’t you find it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19).

We are on a journey that requires us to let go of what has been holding us back from growing in it. We pass through the Wilderness on our way to renew our dwelling in his sanctuary.

Christ’s journey to the Cross was full of pain. But the empty tomb is a promise of new and resurrected life.

We pray that everyone who goes through difficult experiences this Easter will experience the power of life in Christ, and that the world will come to know the way of Peace.

Rev Nan Powell-Davies, General Secretary Presbyterian Church of Wales

Rev Aneurin Owen, Moderator Presbyterian Church of Wales