Since Friday July 14th, Palestinians have been expressing unity and solidarity in opposing Israel’s decisions to impose new security measures on worshippers entering Al-Aqsa mosque, changing the status quo, agreed upon for the site since 1967. On Thursday 27th, both Kairos Palestine and Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center led a delegation of Palestinian Church and community leaders to Al Aqsa mosque to protest together, as Palestinians, the Israeli occupation restrictions.
The delegation was greeted by our Muslim brothers and sisters with chants of Palestinian unity and hugs. The crowds refused to be silent, and the stones of the Jerusalem Churches and Mosques together cried out for justice and freedom.
On June 24th, Sabeel Jerusalem took a trip to the Golan Heights with a group of 50 people. We enjoyed the wide age range in our group – there were people in their 20s, people in their 80s, and every age in between! Our first stop was outside Ghajar, a small town by the Lebanese border can only be entered through a checkpoint. Then we went to several other small villages, including Banias, Majdal Shams, and Ein Kinya, where we had a prayer service at a small Maronite Church which is taken care of by the one Christian family there. We also went to an overlook to see the view across the border into Syria. Afterward, we ate a delicious lunch and went to a market to buy lots of cherries. It was a really lovely day.
Twenty-six young women and men from Ramallah, Aboud, Nablus, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala, Zababdeh, Tobas, Burqen, Jericho, and Jerusalem came to the Bible study facilitators’ meeting. It took place on June 26 -27, 2017 at the Mar Ephraim guest house in Taybeh. We’re grateful for these young adults who want to study the Bible with their communities.
At the women’s meeting on June 16th, participants discussed a chapter from the book “At Sunrise and Sunset,” a collection of essays by Lotof Haj. The book talks about the character of nations, ways in which nationality can be protected from changes, and how to encourage awareness of national roots.
The monthly women’s Bible study in Nazareth met on June 15th. The passage for this meeting was Luke 22:7-27, the story of the Last Supper. The focus of the Bible study was on the Eucharist and the manner in which we receive it.
On June 11th, Sabeel Nazareth led a community trip to the Golan Heights with tour guide Abu Tahreer. They visited Ghajar, Banias, Ein Kinya, Majdal Shams, and Buq’ata. They had an ecumenical prayer service in the church at Ein Kinya. There were 45 participants on the trip.
The local community met with Rev. Naim Ateek because of Pentecost for an Open Forum. We sang hymns and enjoyed the nice community atmosphere, especially because Assis Naim has not been here in a while. There was also a discussion about Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, and the first disciples. Nadine Bitar, who is working on her master’s degree in Christian ministry, talked about her experience studying in the United States and returning to serve the community here. She also spoke about the challenges she faces as a woman studying ministry. Afterward, there was time for questions and discussion.