There was an ecumenical prayer service on April 29th for the political prisoners who are on hunger strike. Bishop Atallah Hanna preached, and representatives from different churches were present – a total of 110 people. The service took place at the Dominican Church.
Sabeel’s annual Contemporary Way of the Cross was on April 3rd. Forty people from different churches joined us for this path, led by Rev. Naim Ateek and Syrian Orthodox Priest Benjamin Shemoun. We went through Via Dolorosa from station one through fourteen and ended at the Church of the Resurrection.
On March 31st, Sabeel held its annual egg hunt for children from orphanages in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It took place at Mary Doty Garden in Bethlehem, and 110 kids from different charitable organizations were able to participate. There were performers, balloons, face paint, gifts, and chocolate for the kids to enjoy. The event ended with a pizza dinner.
The youth Bible study on March 29th focused on the Gospel of Matthew 6:1-8 and 6:16-18, parts of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus speaks about almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. He teaches that these things should be done privately rather than in front of other people with the goal of impressing them. We also discussed what these passages are telling us for our own daily lives and how difficult it can sometimes be to apply them.
Along with Tantur Ecumenical Institute and Church of the Redeemer, Sabeel co-sponsored a book launch for Father Michael Lapsley’s book on March 26th, 2017. His book is called Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer, and is about his personal experiences. Fr. Lapsley joined the ANC after being exiled by the South African apartheid government. After surviving a letter bomb attack by the South African government, he went on to found the Institute for Healing of Memories in Cape Town. There was simultaneous translation of the event from English to Arabic. About 45 people attended.
The 10th Nazareth International Conference was March 11th-12th. A large number of internationals and locals participated. People attending the conference visited the occupied Golan Heights. The next day, there was a prayer service at St. Peter’s Church in Tiberias. That evening there was a cultural program including a choir from Nazareth and Dabkah dancing which the audience interacted with.
On February 22nd, we had a book release for The Land of Christ: a Palestinian Cry, by Rev. John Katanashu. Rev. John spoke briefly, and his talk was followed by comments from the writer Fouad Farah and Lina Haj, who read an excerpt of the book, as well as a summary and her opinion of the book. There was also time for the 30 people attending to ask the author questions and discuss the book.