Lectionary Text and Prayers for Israel-Palestine: Luke 2:22-40 and John 1:10-18
We pray for the incoming team of President-Elect Obama and their response to the appeal of Christians to make Peace in the Middle-East a priority of his administration right from the very start.
We pray for the upcoming Israeli national elections in February 2009. We pray that the incoming administration will be open to negotiating a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We hope that problematic issues such as the status of the Palestinian minority that holds Israeli citizenship is remembered.
We pray for Um Kamel and the al Kurd family. Um Kamel was a 1948 refugee residing in her East Jerusalem home allotted to her by the United Nations until recently when settlers aided by the Jerusalem municipality evicted her from her home. Soon after the eviction, Um Kamel lost her husband and we pray that she may receive strength as she mourns. We pray for all East Jerusalemites like Um Kamel who face the constant threat of land expropriation.
We pray for the easing of tensions in Hebron that have been caused by the recent eviction of settlers from the "House of Contention". The violence has resulted in the injury of members of both the Jewish and the Palestinian communities and pray that those injured speedily recover. We pray for all Palestinians in West Bank threatened by settler violence and who suffer economically and socially due to limited access and movement between cities and towns in this area.
We lift up the deplorable humanitarian situation in Gaza today due to the ongoing siege. We pray for those affected by the food and fuel shortages experienced regularly and for those who require medical treatment that are unable to receive it due to border closures.
We pray for the ministry of Sabeel and all our Global Ministries partners in the Middle East.
To sign the letter to President-Elect Obama, click here: http://action.cmep.org/t/4030/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=173
International Sabeel Events:
Sabeel Spring Witness Visit March 12 –March 20, 2009: The trip includes visits to communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, with 3 nights in Jerusalem, 3 in Bethlehem, and 2 nights in the Galilee. The trip provides an opportunity to meet with Palestinian Christian and Muslim leaders of civic and religious organizations and Israeli advocates for justice. Participants will hear directly from Palestinian Christians and share in worship with this community.
Sabeel Young Adult Conference July 22 –August 2, 2009: This conference, for young adults between the ages 18 and 30, includes visits to Palestinian and Israeli towns and villages, events celebrating Palestinian culture, worship and Biblical reflections, volunteer experiences, advocacy workshops, and sharing experiences and ideas with Palestinian young adults.
Sabeel Fall Witness Visit October 28 –November 5, 2009
Local Sabeel Events:
Sabeel is hosting an ecumenical Christmas dinner on December 19, 2008 in East Jerusalem, Beit Hanina. Guests include Jerusalem clergy and members of the local Christian community. Two hundred guests are expected to come this Friday.
Weekly Bible studies for the Sabeel youth will continue throughout 2009.
Activities for the Sabeel Men's, Women's, Clergy, and Youth groups will also continue throughout 2009 (for more information please go to the Sabeel website).
Global Ministries International Partners in Israel-Palestine:
- Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Jerusalem) is an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. It's an ecumenical center for Palestinian Liberation Theology which seeks to make the Gospel contextually relevant. In Arabic Sabeel means "the way" and also a "spring of water." Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians. The Center is located in Jerusalem where the majority of programs take place with participants from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah and surrounding areas. http://www.sabeel.org/
- The East Jerusalem YMCA was established in 1949 in a tent at Aqabat Jaber Refugee Camp, near Jericho and operates with all sectors of our Palestinian Society without discrimination. The East Jerusalem YMCA operates a variety of programs and functions related directly to the needs of Palestinian society in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, Beit Sahour, Gaza, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, and Tulkarem. http://www.ej-ymca.org/site/
- The YWCA of Palestine is an ecumenical grassroots movement serving women of all faiths. The main aims are to promote women's full and equal participation at all levels of society through leadership opportunities and training; to work for social and economic justice through development and advocacy programs; and to mobilize women's collective power for action on issues of vital concern: women's rights, justice, equality, freedom, the dignity of human beings and integrity of their environment. Programs include vocational training programs; training courses in Computer skills, hairdressing and language; children and youth activities such as summer camps; social and cultural activities; income generating projects; and advocacy work in areas such as human rights. The YWCA headquarters are in Jerusalem. There are three local associations in Jerusalem, Jericho and Ramallah, and three centers in refugee camps: Aqabat Jabr, Jalazone and Kalandia. http://www.ywca-palestine.org/
- Rawdat el-Zuhur (Arabic for "Garden of Flowers") is a primary school for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. Established in 1952, it aims at bringing up a new generation that is aware of the principles of good citizenship, and concerned for the environment; capable of thinking creatively, and analyzing logically and critically, offering and accepting positive criticism, and excelling in performance; and equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to assume leadership in a democratic society which they would develop and preserve. It serves mainly the lower income community. Students at Rawdat el-Zuhur can be supported through the Common Global Ministries Board's Child Sponsorship Program. http://www.rawdat.org/
- Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches was set up in the early 1950s to help Palestinian refugees with their newly acquired status following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Department set up branches in five different regions: Gaza, Jerusalem and West Bank, Galilee in Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon, with the clear mandate of working with the refugees, the poor, and the dispossessed. http://www.mec-churches.org/main_eng.htm
- Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza of the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem was established in 1882 by the Church of Mission Society and is located in the Gaza Strip area of Palestine. It became a service ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in 1982, and continues to provide important medical and surgical care to all people of the Gaza Strip. Over 60 percent of the Strip's residents live in refugee camps, and a significant portion of the hospital's care is charitable as they serve a community of exceptionally poor citizens. Al-Ahli has also responded to the needs of the victims of crises, including providing medical treatment to those involved in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.
- Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) supports Palestinians and Israelis working for peace by monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, offering protection by accompanying local communities in daily activities, and by advocating with churches for a peaceful end to the Occupation. The programme, which began in 2002, is coordinated by the World Council of Churches (WCC). http://www.eappi.org/