The Kairos Initiative
An ecumenical group of Palestinian Christians issued The Kairos Palestine Document: A moment of truth - A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering (see right side bar) from a meeting in Bethlehem Friday, Dec. 11. The document is a word of hope to Palestinian Christians and a challenge for churches to work toward an end of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands as well as to re-examine theologies that support the Israeli occupation.
From the Palestine Kairos Website
This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.
In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.
The National Council of Churches has issued a summary, study guide and resource document about the Kairos document. Click here to download.
Links Regarding the Palestine Kairos Document
From left to right, the Rev. Robert Smith, ELCA Middle East Desk Director, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb of Christmas Lutheran Church and DIYAR Consortium in Bethlehem, and Mr. Rifat Kassis at the meeting in Bethlehem where the Kairos Document was released. Photo from Dar Annadwa.
The initiators of this document include a broad range of Palestinian Christian theologians and leaders who have been working for more than a year, guided by their hope in God's promise of justice and assisted by members of the South African Kairos group. The 1985 Kairos Document written in South Africa was a theological statement and a call to churches around the world to work to end apartheid practices there. That document galvanized opposition to apartheid and has served as an example for others writing from their own contexts (Latin America, Zimbabwe, now Palestine) to call attention to what they perceive as unjust and oppressive practices. Kairos is one of two Greek words for time. Kairos refers to a significant time of opportunity, a decisive moment, rather than chronos, which refers to the simple passage of time.
The Palestine Kairos Document also has roots in the World Council of Churches, which launched the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) in 2007, an international, inter-church advocacy initiative created to help Palestinian Christians strengthen their presence in the Holy Land and mobilize churches around the world to work for peace with justice in the Middle East. Palestinian churches, church-related organizations and theologians have been involved in this effort. At that time, the group issued The Amman Call, which detailed the realities on the ground for Palestinians under Israeli occupation and called on churches around the world to go beyond professing statements supporting peace and unite in action that would make a difference on the ground.
In 2008, the PIEF gathered in Bern, Switzerland. This meeting produced a document titled The Bern Perspective that challenges Christians to examine theologies that promote occupation and exclusive rights to land for one people alone.
The views expressed in these materials represent the positions of outside organizations and may not necessarily reflect an official position of the ELCA.