Greetings from Jerusalem.
As you may already know, Sabeel will be holding its 10th International Conference March 7-13, 2017.
We are looking ahead to 2017 with a sense of anticipation and urgency. You may or may not be aware of the symbolism of the coming year: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration; 70 years since the UN Partition Plan; 50 years since the occupation of the state of Palestine: the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip; 30 years since the beginning of the first intifada, and 10 years since the beginning of political divisions among our Palestinian people.
But we do not want to see this year as only a time of looking back. Let us aspire to make 2017 a biblical year of Jubilee, a year in which we proclaim liberty to our land and for all its inhabitants. Inspired by this vision of Jubilee, we want 2017 to mark a time of moving forward. It is a reminder that none of the inhabitants, including Palestinians and Israelis, are the owners of the land. Our land, as well as the whole world, belongs to God and we are all aliens and tenants. God expects us to practice justice and liberation for all the oppressed people among us, and especially for the Palestinians. It is a time when both local and international communities join together, recommit ourselves, and exert the needed pressure on the international arena to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, to establish justice on the basis of international law, and to proclaim liberation for all our peoples.
We are living in a time that is very similar to the time of Jesus – empire, religious extremism, fear of the other – all these issues are not only prevalent today but they were faced by Jesus and his followers. At our 10th International Conference, we want to rediscover together the way of Jesus Christ, Liberator. We hope that our time together will strengthen our coalitions and partnerships and will build on the networks that already exist, locally and internationally. We would also ask our international friends to identify and to share with us ideas and strategies that can help us map out a new way forward for Sabeel’s future ministry.
We hope and pray that the 10th International Conference will be a time of listening, planning, and strategizing, a time of moving forward in a spirit of hope and trust that together we can and will make a difference as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, Liberator.
This is a personal invitation for you and your friends to come and be with us. Take a stand for justice. Take a stand that will glorify the God of justice and love. Take a stand for a just peace that will benefit all the people of our land.
See you next year in Jerusalem!
Chair of Sabeel Board
October 19, 2016