Bp. Munib Younan addresses Global Ministries and Council on Christian Unity at Disciples’ General Assembly

Bp. Munib Younan addresses Global Ministries and Council on Christian Unity at Disciples’ General Assembly

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), offered a powerful keynote address at the Global Ministries and Council on Christian Unity International Dinner during the 2015 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Helping to launch the Middle East Initiative, and offering the Peter Ainslie Lecture on Christian Unity, Bp. Younan began by stating, “The present time presents many challenges for our communities, both here in the United States and around the world. Together, we are seeking to address the challenge of climate change, poverty, contagious diseases and global economic systems that seem to promote inequality and injustice.”

Bp. Younan, who was consecrated as Bishop of the ELCJHL in 1998, is active in many ecumenical and interfaith organizations, including the Middle East Council of Churches, the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches, and the Lutheran World Federation, which he currently serves as President.

In his speech, he outlined the challenges of Christians in the Middle East, and challenged those present by saying, “I am here today to request that the Disciples of Christ and other churches in the United States refuse the temptation to say the Middle East is too complicated or that it is not the business of the churches. The Christians in the Middle East are crying out for your active, generous, and creative engagement.”

Bp. Younan spoke of the importance of working together.  “My dear friends, the present crisis demands an ecumenical response from the global church. It cannot be addressed by Middle Eastern Christians alone. Western churches need to work with us to develop the ways they seek to inform their societies and influence their governments.”

On Palestine, he asserted the necessity of global engagement.  “Challenging the occupation means not only finding the right tactics, but addressing the cultural and theological underpinnings of Israel’s settlement enterprise, both the Jewish extremism of the settler movement and the Christian Zionism found in many western countries…. Together, we must engage in prophetic leadership, both in Palestine and around the world.”

Bp. Younan concluded by thanking our churches for “your fervor and zeal for our land, for Arab Christians, and our people. Our mission is your mission, and yours is ours. Do not leave us alone. Together, we implant the Gospel of Love in our broken world.”

He was presented with the Global Ministries Award of Affirmation, given to the ELCJHL, for its commitment to peace with justice, conflict resolution, interfaith dialogue, and service to all who are in need.

The full text of Bp. Younan’s speech is available below: