Sabeel Clergy Program
The significance of Easter in the church calendar is difficult to underestimate; it celebrates the very heart of our faith and the exultation of resurrection conquering death. However, as Eastern and Western Christians celebrate holidays using different church calendars, both Lent and Easter can feel like a divided time as the Christian family separates into groups to perform their respective traditions. Desiring to build ecumenical unity among the churches, Sabeel organizes a post-Easter gathering each year, bringing clergy together from all over the region to reflect on the season, celebrate the resurrection, and invest in community life together.
This year’s gathering was held on May 10 at the Latin Church in Ein Areek, a village just outside Ramallah, and attended by 24 clergy and their wives from Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour, Ramallah, Birzeit, Aboud, and Jerusalem.
The program this year involved a prayer and opening words from Naim Ateek, followed by a time of sharing by Ein Areek’s Orthodox priest Fr. Nicholas Shahen about the community in Ein Areek, the strong relationships between Muslims and Christians in the village, and the strong ecumenical spirit among the clergy and congregations.
After spending time at the Latin Church, the group visited an archaeological dig at the Greek Orthodox Church and admired a recently uncovered ancient olive press. In the afternoon, the clergy relaxed and fellowshipped at Al-Fallaha restaurant (famous for its Palestinian dish, Musakhan). The clergy and their wives reconnected after many busy months and exchanged Easter greetings of “Al Maseeh Qaam!” and “Haqqan Qaam!” (Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!)
The group ended the day with the fun Palestinian tradition of breaking eggs, which represents new life and symbolizes the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.