Pray for Israel and Palestine on Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pray for Israel and Palestine on Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lectionary Text and Prayers for Israel & Palestine: John 3:1-17

We pray for Israel and Palestine, and for their leaders. We pray for the next cycle of peace dialogues and for the people involved in these important negotiations. We hope the international community helps these dialogues and negotiations to achieve a real peace based in national justice and human dignity.

We pray for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and also we pray for Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan. We pray for the Bishop’s wisdom in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Holy Land, and for his commitment in the transformation of good theological values and principles into concrete educational and service programs in his diocese.

We pray for the important ministries of the Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem, especially for its educational programs. We hope that the Dar al-Kalima College, with its new physical facilities, be able to continue its contextual and transforming educational ministries in the midst of the many difficulties related to the wall that surrounds the city and the check points that hurts the normal communication and transportation processes.

We pray for the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, for him to maintain his spiritual, mental and physical health, to continue his leadership not only in his local city and ministries but as well in the rest of the world, especially in Europe and the USA.

We pray for the people of Bethlehem and their relatives in Latin America, like Rozana, which has her father still living in Honduras. They moved to Palestine a year ago to avoid the fiscal crisis and violence in Central America, to live in this Palestinian context full of challenges and difficulties.

We pray for the women, children and senior citizens caught in the middle of these struggles, for them to discover and enjoy the value of hope, the gift of love, and the power of prayer. We pray that a new manifestation of the Holy Spirit come to Bethlehem to transform this traditional «little town» of hymns and history, into a vital center of transforming pilgrimages and socially responsible tourism. We pray that people coming from different parts of the world discover in the holy sites not only the stones of the old buildings, but the living stones of the local believing community.

We pray in the name of the Prince of Peace, which was born in this little old town of Bethlehem. Amen.

(Prayer written by Noemi and Samuel Pagan)

Global Ministries International Partners in Israel & Palestine:

  • 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…  and
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).