As we approach Holy Week we are all reminded that staying at home is the safest way to celebrate our faith and to ensure that our traditions, communal prayerful rites and rituals would be sustained for years to come. Many of us at DSPR have been invigorated by the Services and Hymns on social media networks by our various faith communities. From the Pope’s exceptional prayer with his blessing for the City and the World to Hymns sung by the Greek Orthodox Mount of Lebanon Choir to the Middle East Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches statements and prayers which offered hope and solidarity.Read more
written by Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Christ is risen, indeed He is risen. Let us rejoice and be glad.
We rejoice because Jesus Christ, who triumphed over death, enables us also to triumph over all forms of death in our life. In our life, indeed, the forms of death are many.
Some of the world’s great—along with many of those who have power—are still walking in the ways of death. They are imposing many wars on our Middle East and on our Holy Land, the land of the Resurrection. They see nothing but death as a way to life. The strong in our land continue to see the death imposed on the Palestinian people as their only way to life and security.Read more
The COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to spread around the world, affecting many hundreds of thousands of people. There are now very few countries where no infections have been reported.
Lord, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world, we pray that you give strength and reassurance to all people as they continue to live under strict restrictions and social distancing. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.Read more
In 1976, and in response to the Israeli government's plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian Land in Israel for state purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six unarmed Arab citizens were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds were arrested.
In March 30th every year, the Palestinian People commemorate this land day while the Israeli target to Palestinian land has never stopped, including confiscations, building colonies, the apartheid wall, bypass roads for the use of Israeli settlers, and for what is so called security reasons.
The Palestinian Battle against Coronavirus: A Fight Exacerbated by the Continued Israeli Occupation
For decades, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have survived curfews and lockdowns imposed by Israel. This is not a new reality for them. While the whole world is living in quarantine, the Palestinian experience remains unique as they address this global crisis under military occupation.
Ever since the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank, Israel has shown no intent to give Palestinians a break and ease their fight against this pandemic. Instead, they continue their violations and oppressive practices as usual.
A Message of Comfort and Assurance
From Bishop Sani Ibrahim Azar
Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
Jesus Stills a Storm
On that day, when evening had come, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4:35-41)Read more
Global Ministries among 14 Christian churches and agencies urging Adminisration to extend relief from sanctions in light of COVID-19
This week, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ was one of 14 Christian denominations and agencies to send a letter to President Trump, Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin, and Secretary of State Pompeo. The letter, dated March 25, urged the lifting of US-imposed sanctions on Iran, Syria, and Gaza--sanctions that impede local response to the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to exacerbating an already dangerous public health crisis for the people who live there.Read more
We in the Middle East, but also you in all parts of the world are going through a difficult time. Many people are worried and frightened, no one knows what is coming and many find it difficult to judge how to behave properly. Such a situation is new and unprecedented.
On Monday this week, the Executive Directors of the Areas, together with the Central Office of the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and the Chairman of the Central Committee, met for the first time via a zoom conference and exchanged information about the current status in the Areas in order to stay in touch and maintain communication among each other.
The COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to spread around the world. There are now more than 250,000 confirmed cases with over 11,000 deaths worldwide. Life worldwide is becoming more and more restricted as governments attempt to slow the spread of the virus and allow medical staff time to respond to the unprecedented levels of people needing treatment.
Lord of healing, we pray that you strengthen everyone around the world as they attempt to find a new way to live in the face of the current pandemic. Grant your restoring grace to all those medical workers who are putting their own health and the health of their families at risk to treat those sickest among us. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayer.Read more
Written by Dr. Bernard Sabella, Executive Secretary
Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the
Middle East Council of Churches
On the situation in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine and Israel, both governments are taking very stringent and strict measures in order to check the spread of the virus. The instructions to stay home applies to all and so far in Israel the government is not "checking" on those who are not staying at home but there are indications that they will soon. This means that anyone who leaves home for unnecessary reason will be penalized by a high fine and in certain cases, such as those who are required to stay home, could also face a trial that will land them in the hospitality of the state; i.e., prison. These measures are understood in the context. DSPR Central Office has taken the decision starting on Monday, 16th of March, to work from home. So did our colleagues in Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. Gaza remains with no recorded infection and hopefully it will continue this way, even if some doubt it.Read more