My Fellow Bethanians,

As a community who believes deeply in the sanctity and dignity of human life, we are collectively shaken and deeply troubled by the horrific acts of terrorism unleashed on Israel and its citizens this past week. The President of the United States rightly characterized this barbaric slaughter of over 1,000 innocent civilians, including women and children, as “pure, unadulterated evil.”

As an institution founded by the Christian Church, we pray for the souls who perished in this tragedy.  And we pray for their families who are experiencing unimaginable grief at this most difficult time. We also pray for the safety of the hostages, including American citizens, whose lives remain in grave danger at this hour. And we pray for a swift and peaceful resolution to the Middle East conflict and for the protection of all innocent life.

Throughout history, Bethany College has welcomed students and faculty from diverse faith traditions, cultures, and backgrounds. In fact, our community has many longstanding relationships with peaceful Israeli and Palestinian families. Because of this diversity we embrace tolerance, we seek understanding and empathize with those who suffer, and we strive to be a light in the darkness as we become more “effective, honorable, humane and intelligent citizens.”

I invite you to illustrate this light as we pause this Thursday, Oct. 12, from 12-12:15 p.m. when we will gather at the fountain in front of Old Main where our Chaplain, Pastor Erin Brown, will lead us in prayer for all those impacted by this tragedy and for a swift and peaceful end to this conflict.

Jamie Caridi, Ph.D.