Lectionary Text and Prayers for Israel & Palestine: Luke 14:25-33
O God who, in Christ, walked the hills of Palestine and the streets of Jerusalem, accompany each of us as we seek to be faithful followers of your way. Through solid preparation and sound consideration, let us be guided in life and work by your example to desire what is beyond the superficial. Inspire us as we seek to deepen our faith; strengthen us physically and spiritually as we try to follow you; fill us with the inspiration of your Holy Spirit as we do justice and seek peace. Give us hearts of love to embrace Israeli and Palestinian and embolden us to speak words of truth as we seek freedom for all who are occupied by military force or destructive ideology. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.
We give thanks for:
People of all faiths who stand up and speak out for justice and reconciliation;
The tireless dedication of the staff of Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza;
The recently launched Kairos Palestine (www.kairospalestine.ps) document offering a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering.
The developing awareness around the world of how 43 years of occupation hurts the Palestinian people, and increased international engagement in direct non-violent action to end the occupation.
We pray for:
The Palestinian Lutheran Bishop, Dr. Munib Younan, and his new workload as President of the Lutheran World Federation;
The constant challenges faced by the Middle East Council of Churches in providing services for Palestinian refugees all across the Middle East;
Ecumenical Accompaniers with EAPPI, Christian peacemaker teams (CPT) and others who come and stand in solidarity with those seeking a just end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people;
The grassroots theological engagement of the Sabeel movement.
(Prayer written by Ian Alexander)
Global Ministries International Partners in Israel & Palestine:
- 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
- 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/
- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Christmas Church in Bethlehem, and the Diyar Consortium: The Diyar Consortium is a Lutheran Based, ecumenical oriented institutions serving the Palestinian community «from womb to tomb». Their main emphasis is on children, youth and the elderly, through transforming, contextual and holistic programs. Their initiatives are inspired in the Biblical message: «That they might have life and have it abundantly». In a context of too much politics, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem (CCB) and Diyar Consortium believe in caring for the city and its citizens… In a context of exclusive forms of religion, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in investing in ecumenism, inclusion, dialogue, respect… In a context of too much disempowering aid, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in empowering the individual and the community, in the name of Jesus Christ… In a context of too much segregation, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in building bridges and platforms for international, intercultural and interreligious encounters, dialogue and mutual respect… In a context of despair, ELCJHL, CCB and Diyar believe in creating rooms for hope, forgiveness, reconciliation, justice, and peace… www.elcjhl.org and www.annadwa.org
- Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza of the Episcopal Diocese in Jerusalem was established in 1882 by the Church 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. http://www.j-diocese.org/
- 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, with programs taking place in different locations and participants coming from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and other places in the West Bank and Israel. 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/