The Reverend J. Herbert Nelson, II, General Assembly Stated Clerk for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), today asked U.S. religious leaders to “call upon President Trump to not make his reported decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Nelson, who is currently in the Holy Land with a group of PC(USA) leaders, wrote in an email to Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC), that “this move will create chaos and possible violence and dim the possibility for a just and lasting peace” in the region. “Furthermore,” Nelson wrote, “it will disrupt the call to celebrate our Christian witness to the coming of the Prince of Peace during this Advent season.”

Winkler responded that the NCC is preparing a statement and “will note your witness on behalf of all of us by your presence in the land we call Holy.”

President Trump is expected to announce today that the U.S. government is changing its longstanding stance and declaring it is recognizing Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, as the capital of Israel. What is not clear is what the president will say about moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city that is claimed as central to all three Abrahamic faiths—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

Soliciting prayers for the safety and witness of the PC(USA) delegation, Nelson said, “As we lift up prayers for peace and safety for the Middle East region, it is clear that our God has placed us here in this moment to witness on behalf of the coming ‘Kindom.’

He continued: “Faith compels us to witness where we are in this present age. Therefore, we are here in this hour to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Advent reminds us that God comes in many ways. Once again, we are called to receive and witness to the advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

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