Message from the Program Director
I had the opportunity to join Peace Not Walls advocates from across the country gathered for an evening in Washington, D.C., before I attended the Churches for Middle East Peace Advocacy conference June 18-19, 2012. It is a blessing to know that we Palestinians and the Middle East region are not alone. We have strong allies who are committed to advocating for peace and justice. Thanks be to God!
I served on the planning committee for a Summit for Leadership and Evangelical Justice Conference that was offered by leaders in Region 6 in partnership with the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit of the ELCA. The purpose of the event was to equip leaders to connect with their local communities through initiatives in the area of evangelism and justice ministries. The event included an immersion into the Arab and Middle Eastern community especially the ministry of Mother of the Savior Lutheran Church, in Dearborn, Mich., one of our Ethnic Specific and Multicultural Ministries within the ELCA.
Enjoy reading the rest of our newsletter, and please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Palestinian Lutheran pastor to receive "German Media Award"
Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Lutheran African peace activist
ELCA Bishop extends support for Lutherans in Jordan, Holy Land
Obama in unprecedented meeting with ELCA presiding bishop, faith leaders
Obama speech resonates with ELCA Mideast principles, says presiding bishop
ELCA Presiding Bishop Joins Interfaith Call for Middle East Peace
Mitri Rahib spoke about Palestinian theology to a recent tour group from Yale Divinity School. | Read more.
Bishop Younan's Easter message "Resurrection: Sadness transformed into joyous hope" can be found here.
A recent issue of The Lutheran magazine affirmed EAPPI-US and ELCA members' presence as accompaniers in the West Bank. | Read article.
Attend the August Global Mission event to be held in Milwaukee. More information can be found at Glocal Gatherings.
ADDITIONAL ELCA LINKS
Domestic Hunger Grants Program
2012 Youth Gathering
Editor: Kholoud Khoury
Editorial Commitee:Ryan LaHurd and Fuad Nijim
Message from the Association President
I lift my hat up in admiration for our sisters and brothers of the Quaker, Methodist and Presbyterian traditions in our Christian church. As most of you know, the Friends Society voted to divest $900,000 from Caterpillar, and both the Methodist and Presbyterian churches passed resolutions calling for “all nations to prohibit import products made in Israeli settlements,” and “condemn the production and sale of Israeli products that come from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
If one looks, it is not difficult to see the relentless oppression going on every day, hour and minute against civilians, both Christian and Muslim in the occupied Palestinian territories. Our silence as Christians and as human beings makes us complicit. What cries do we hear from our Christian sisters and brothers in Palestine? What can we do? What can our church do? While our Lutheran church has a long history of ministry for and engagement with the people of the Holy Land, and many continue to speak up against the oppression we witness today, the time has come for our church as a whole to join hands with our Quaker, Methodist and Presbyterian siblings in taking concrete non-violent steps to lessen and eliminate this oppression. To learn more about Kairos Palestine, go to its official website at: www.kairospalestine.ps.
ALAMEH, our association, will be holding its biennial General Assembly in Chicago on Oct. 5-7, 2012. All of us, clergy and executive council members, are looking forward to this uplifting gathering, and we look forward to seeing you with us. For more information, please contact your pastor, Kholoud Khoury, or me.
Blessings to all,
Fuad Bassim NijimALAMEH Association President
St. Elias Christian ChurchThe first-year curriculum for the confirmation class was concluded, May 2012. The second year of confirmation class will start in September.
Twenty-six people from St. Elias participated in the Memorial church picnic, May 28, 2012, at Evanston Park near Lake Michigan.
Immanuel hosted vacation Bible school June 25-29, 2012, for children 4-12 years old.
During the summer, Saturday Bible class will continue to be held from 6-9 p.m. every week.
Sunday worship service is at 1:30 p.m.
Mother of the SaviorMother of the Savior continues to offer a cultural experience for many non-Arab groups, Christians and non-Christians alike. Such experiences have included an immersion in the Middle Eastern culture and our unique interfaith community in the city of Dearborn. It has been a joy for members at Mother of the Savior to share their gifts in hosting, educating and equipping others to share the love of Christ in their own diverse community and culture. We continue to host groups from schools, colleges, churches, mosques and other institutions. Working with the youth especially has been adventurous and exciting to say the least.
We give thanks and glory to God for giving us this ministry of reconciliation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
ELCA Peace Not Walls Campaign About 40 Peace Not Walls advocates from across the country gathered for an evening in Washington, D.C., before the Churches for Middle East Peace conference in June to strategize about how to work together more effectively to network, raise awareness, accompany and advocate for a just peace in Palestine and Israel. A steering team was named to help prioritize actions, leadership and accountability. Go to the Peace Not Walls website www.elca.org/peacenotwalls for more information. Don’t forget that we have a blog you can sign up for at that same site so you are alerted when new blog posts are added.
Experience the Wall at the ELCA Youth GatheringThe theme of the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering, “citizens with the saints,” is the last part of the Ephesians passage about breaking down the dividing wall and the hostilities between us, making us into one. The ELCA churchwide ministries and the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod are hosting six young Palestinians and six young American youth who will be working at an exhibit called ”The Wall” that will be about life and faith in Palestine and Israel. Visitors will also be involved in an interactive game that divides people into groups of Palestinians, settlers and others as they seek to build homes. There will also be a storytelling room for the Palestinians to tell their stories. Make sure you plan to stop by, and pass it on!
Our Shared Witness: Voice for Justice and ReconciliationThe newly published book by Bishop Munib Younan: "Our Shared Witness: A Voice for Justice and Reconciliation," was published by Lutheran University Press, Minneapolis, Minn. Rev. Younan is bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and president of The Lutheran World Federation. For more information you can visit www.lutheranupress.org/Books/Our_Shared_Witness
Are you an "Accompanier," ready to serve in a West Bank community? Application is open though the U.S. committee of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel for accompaniers ready to serve for three months in 2013. The three key elements of accompaniment are: bringing a world of hope, sharing the basics of life and departing to carry on the work through advocacy.
ELCA members lead the list of U.S. Christians who have served as accompaniers. To see a story about Tammie Danielsen’s efforts in Hebron, check out her story in The Lutheran.
Accompaniers walk with local people and report human rights abuses, helping to protect communities and keeping international agencies up to date with the situation on the ground. The program operates out of seven locations in the West Bank. Accompaniers visit families affected by house demolitions, arbitrary arrests and violence by settlers and the Israeli army. They monitor checkpoints and agricultural gates, land confiscation and settlement activities, collecting important data for international agencies including the U.N. They attend demonstrations against specific injustices, many of these organized by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups. The program hosts hundreds of visitors every year providing unique opportunities to meet the people living under occupation.
Please explore the website http://www.eappi-us.org and contact them with your questions.