Interview with Hanna Massad, Former Pastor of the Baptist Church in Gaza

Christian killed in Gaza
Christians in Gaza mourning a fellow believer
killed by Israeli strikes (photo AP)

Christianity Today has just published an interview with my friend Dr. Hanna Massad, former pastor of the Baptist Church in Gaza, on the situation of Christians in that area following the current IDF military operation there.

Here is the beginning of it.

* * *

What are Christians inside Gaza telling you?

I was happy to hear about the ceasefire. This morning the news was that, unfortunately, the fighting has continued. Several times daily I communicate with Gaza by phone or Skype. Water supplies are very low in Gaza. There’s little or no electricity. I’ve spoken with my Muslim neighbors and Christians. All are waiting and anxious about what will happen next.

Are Gazans being sheltered in churches?

Gaza Baptist Church hasn’t been damaged, but it’s next door to Gaza’s main police station, which is a target. The bombs have made it too dangerous for Baptist church members to meet. But thousands of Muslims have found refuge in other churches that have opened their doors to refugees. My neighbor called to ask if he and his family could move into my family home in Gaza. Now there’s almost 100 people living in my house. People throughout Gaza are taking care of each other.

Eastern Gaza is very dangerous. Most of north Gaza borders Israel. Through the Christian Mission to Gaza that I founded in 1999 and in partnership with Bethlehem Bible Society and Gaza Baptist Church, we’ve supplied food relief to hundreds of Muslim and Christians. Our goal is to help 1,000 families.

How many Christians remain in Gaza?

Four hundred families. Two months ago there were 1,333 individuals—mostly Greek Orthodox, Catholics, and Baptists.

How should Christians understand this conflict?

A Jew killing a Palestinian or Palestinian killing a Jew are symptoms of the problem. The root of the problem is the Israeli occupation of Gaza. As Christians we know there won’t be any peace in peoples’ lives without the Prince of Peace. But as long as this occupation continues, there will not really be a solution.

Read HERE the entire interview.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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