Gaza Easter Vigil Service

Join us for this Saturday for an Easter Vigil live from Palestine. Saturday, March 30th – 21:00 Jerusalem time/ 3pm Eastern / 12pm Pacific. This Holy Saturday, March 30th, for a special Easter service at 9pm Jerusalem time with messages from Reverend Munther Isaac and liturgies led by many of our partners: Bethlehem Bible College (BBC), Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC), Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), Freedom Road, Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages, Global Emersion, Kairos Palestine, Network of Evangelicals for the Middle East (NEME), Red Letter Christians (RLC), Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, and Telos. 

You can view the recording of the service here, on Sabeel’s Youtube Channel.

Call to Action: At the end of the service, Churches for Middle East Peace shared a call to action for all participants in the service, to sign and promote their “March 2024 Global Christian Leaders Call for Permanent Gaza Ceasefire.”

A Call for Repentance: An Open Letter from Palestinian Christians to Western Church Leaders and Theologians

“Learn to do right; seek justice; defend the oppressed” (Isa 1:17).

We, at the undersigned Palestinian Christian institutions and grassroots movements, grieve and lament the renewed cycle of violence in our land. As we were about to publish this open letter, some of us lost dear friends and family members in the atrocious Israeli bombardment of innocent civilians on October 19, 2023, Christians included, who were taking refuge in the historical Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza. Words fail to express our shock and horror with regards to the on-going war in our land. We deeply mourn the death and suffering of all people because it is our firm conviction that all humans are made in God’s image. We are also profoundly troubled when the name of God is invoked to promote violence and religious national ideologies.

Further, we watch with horror the way many western Christians are offering unwavering support to Israel’s war against the people of Palestine. While we recognize the numerous voices that have spoken and continue to speak for the cause of truth and justice in our land, we write to challenge western theologians and church leaders who have voiced uncritical support for Israel and to call them to repent and change. Sadly, the actions and double standards of some Christian leaders have gravely hurt their Christian witness and have severely distorted their moral judgment with regards to the situation in our land.

We come alongside fellow Christians in condemning all attacks on civilians, especially defenseless families and children. Yet, we are disturbed by the silence of many church leaders and theologians when it is Palestinian civilians who are killed. We are also horrified by the refusal of some western Christians to condemn the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine, and, in some instances, their justification of and support for the occupation. Further, we are appalled by how some Christians have legitimized Israel’s ongoing indiscriminate attacks on Gaza, which have, so far, claimed the lives of more than 3,700 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children. These attacks have resulted in the wholesale destruction of entire neighborhoods and the forced displacement of over one million Palestinians. The Israeli military has utilized tactics that target civilians such as the use of white phosphorus, the cutting off of water, fuel, and electricity, and the bombardment of schools, hospitals, and places of worship—including the heinous massacre at Al-Ahli Anglican-Baptist Hospital and the bombardment of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius which wiped out entire Palestinian Christian families.

Moreover, we categorically reject the myopic and distorted Christian responses that ignore the wider context and the root causes of this war: Israel’s systemic oppression of the Palestinians over the last 75 years since the Nakba, the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the oppressive and racist military occupation that constitutes the crime of apartheid. This is precisely the horrific context of oppression that many western Christian theologians and leaders have persistently ignored, and even worse, have occasionally legitimized using a wide range of Zionist theologies and interpretations. Moreover, Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza for the last 17 years has turned the 365-square-kilometer Strip into an open-air prison for more than two million Palestinians—70% of whom belong to families displaced during the Nakba—who are denied their basic human rights. The brutal and hopeless living conditions in Gaza under Israel’s iron fist have regrettably emboldened extreme voices of some Palestinian groups to resort to militancy and violence as a response to oppression and despair. Sadly, Palestinian non-violent resistance, which we remain wholeheartedly committed to, is met with rejection, with some western Christian leaders even prohibiting the discussion of Israeli apartheid as reported by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and B’Tselem, and as long asserted by both Palestinians and South Africans.

Time and again, we are reminded that western attitudes towards Palestine-Israel suffer from a glaring double standard that humanizes Israeli Jews while insisting on dehumanizing Palestinians and whitewashing their suffering. This is evident in general attitudes towards the recent Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip that killed thousands of Palestinians, the apathy towards the murder of the Palestinian-American Christian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in 2022, and the killing of more than 300 Palestinians including 38 children in the West Bank this year before this recent escalation.

It seems to us that this double standard reflects an entrenched colonial discourse that has weaponized the Bible to justify the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Oceania, and elsewhere, the slavery of Africans and the transatlantic slave trade, and decades of apartheid in South Africa. Colonial theologies are not passé; they continue in wide-ranging Zionist theologies and interpretations that have legitimized the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the vilification and dehumanization of Palestinians—Christians included—living under systemic settler-colonial apartheid. Further, we are aware of the western Christian legacy of Just War Theory that was used to justify dropping atomic bombs over innocent civilians in Japan during World War II, the destruction of Iraq and the decimation of its Christian population during the latest American war on Iraq, as well as the unwavering and uncritical support for Israel against the Palestinians in the name of moral-supremacy and “self-defense.” Regrettably, many western Christians across wide denominational and theological spectra adopt Zionist theologies and interpretations that justify war, making them complicit in Israel’s violence and oppression. Some are also complicit in the rise of the anti-Palestinian hate speech, which we are witnessing in numerous western countries and media outlets today.

Although many Christians in the West do not have a problem with the theological legitimization of war, the vast majority of Palestinian Christians do not condone violence—not even by the powerless and occupied. Instead, Palestinian Christians are fully committed to the way of Jesus in creative nonviolent resistance (Kairos Palestine, §4.2.3), which uses “the logic of love and draw[s] on all energies to make peace” (§4.2.5). Crucially, we reject all theologies and interpretations that legitimize the wars of the powerful. We strongly urge western Christians to come alongside us in this. We also remind ourselves and fellow Christians that God is the God of the downtrodden and the oppressed, and that Jesus rebuked the powerful and lifted up the marginalized. This is at the heart of God’s conception of justice. Therefore, we are deeply troubled by the failure of some western Christian leaders and theologians to acknowledge the biblical tradition of justice and mercy, as first proclaimed by Moses (Deut 10:18; 16:18–20; 32:4) and the prophets (Isa 1:17; 61:8; Mic 2:1–3, 6:8; Amos 5:10–24), and as exemplified and embodied in Christ (Matt 25:34–46; Luke 1:51–53; 4:16–21).

Finally, and we say it with a broken heart, we hold western church leaders and theologians who rally behind Israel’s wars accountable for their theological and political complicity in the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, which have been committed over the last 75 years. We call upon them to reexamine their positions and to change their direction, remembering that God “will judge the world in justice” (Acts 17:31). We also remind ourselves and our Palestinian people that our sumud (“steadfastness”) is anchored in our just cause and our historical rootedness in this land. As Palestinian Christians, we also continue to find our courage and consolation in the God who dwells with those of a contrite and humble spirit (Isa 57:15). We find courage in the solidarity we receive from the crucified Christ, and we find hope in the empty tomb. We are also encouraged and empowered by the costly solidarity and support of many churches and grassroots faith movements around the world, challenging the dominance of ideologies of power and supremacy. We refuse to give in, even when our siblings abandon us. We are steadfast in our hope, resilient in our witness, and continue to be committed to the Gospel of faith, hope, and love, in the face of tyranny and darkness. “In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope. We believe in God, good and just. We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in our land. We will see here ‘a new land’ and ‘a new human being’, capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters” (Kairos Palestine, §10).

Your Kingdom come!

Signed Organizations and Institutions

Kairos Palestine

Christ at the Checkpoint

Bethlehem Bible College

Sabeel Ecumenical Center for Liberation Theology                                                                            

Dar al-Kalima University

Al-Liqa Center for Religious, Heritage and Cultural Studies in the Holy Land

The East Jerusalem YMCA

The YWCA of Palestine

Arab Orthodox Society, Jerusalem                                                      

Arab Orthodox Club, Jerusalem

The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches

Arab Education Institute Pax Christi, Bethlehem

To endorse this open letter, go to:

King of the Earth

Hello Visitor,

Welcome to Jerusalem! We are a community of Palestinian and other Christians from around the world. As you visit Jerusalem, we hope that you begin to understand the beauty, significance, and complexity of this city not only for Christians, but for Jews, Muslims, and all who call Jerusalem their home.

Here are a few things we’d like you to know:

  • There’s a strong community of Palestinian Christians here. We’ve been a part of this land for a very long time and we plan to remain here. 
  • There is a strong sense of solidarity and religious harmony between the Palestinian Christians and Muslims, they consider themselves to be one people/nation. They face the same systematic discriminatory policies and human rights violations from the Israeli occupation forces and settlers.   
  • Our Christian history traces back to the early days of Pentecost in Acts 2:11. We are deeply rooted in the land and we refuse to be challenged by any other narrative. 
  • Many Palestinians face tough times. According to UNRWA as of December 2021, over 1.8 million Palestinian refugees are registered in one of the 58 official refugee camps throughout UNRWA’s five areas of operation.
  • Most Palestinians have considerably less water than their Israeli neighbors. 
  • Palestinians are often imprisoned without clear reasons. Families sometimes need special permission just to live together.
  • Every day, our local clergy and the broader Christian community face disheartening challenges. They are often subjected to both verbal and physical aggression, including distressing incidents of being spat upon and attacked. This ongoing hostility deeply affects their well-being and ability to worship and live in peace.
  • While the majority of us Palestinians are Arab, our people represent a diverse mosaic of ethnic and religious backgrounds, especially evident in the multicultural city of Jerusalem. Though some mistakenly associate us with the biblical Philistines, Palestinians are the indigenous inhabitants of this land. Unfortunately, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 has resulted in the dispossession and displacement of us Palestinians, a price we continue to painfully pay. 

We appreciate your time and understanding. As you experience Jerusalem, please remember its diverse people and their stories.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Servants of the King of the Earth.

Sabeel is Hiring

We are thrilled to announce that Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre is expanding our team! As a centre committed to fostering dialogue, understanding, and growth, we are in search of passionate individuals to join us in the following capacities:

Project Manager100%– Oversee and manage the planning, implementation, and completion of various projects. Candidates should have experience in project management and possess leadership qualities to guide teams effectively.

Administrative and Procurement Officer 50% – Ensure the seamless functioning of our centre by managing administrative tasks and overseeing procurement processes. Individuals with a background in administration and procurement are encouraged to apply.

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist 50% – Review, analyze, and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of our work. We are seeking analytical thinkers with experience in program evaluation and data interpretation.

Communications Officer& Field Officer  75% Amplify our message and keep our stakeholders informed. If you have a knack for storytelling, public relations, or media management, we want to hear from you. Engage with our community, manage on-ground activities, and be the frontline face of our centre. Candidates with experience in community outreach or related roles will be preferred.

Location: East Jerusalem.

If you believe you fit the bill and are excited to contribute to our mission, we’d love to hear from you!

Interested candidates should submit their resumes and a brief cover letter detailing their relevant experience to no later than September 25th 2023.

Join us in making a difference!


Standing Unwavering and Resolute

Together for the Protection of Our Presence

In recent times, we’ve witnessed a series of events that have disrupted the harmony of the Christian presence in the Holy Land. One such event is the controversial deal involving a portion of properties in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. These occurrences are part of a broader pattern of recurring attacks on Christian churches, cemeteries, clergy, nuns, pilgrims, and Christian gatherings across various regions in our lands. This situation leads us to believe that there is a deliberate Israeli policy aimed at targeting our historical existence, institutions, rituals, and spiritual symbols. This policy is occurring within the context of the occupation’s efforts to assert control over Jerusalem, to Judaize sacred lands, and to intimidate and displace Christians.

The current deal is set against a backdrop of ongoing political realities and the mounting pressures imposed by the Israeli occupation on the freedom to worship. As Palestinian Christians, we perceive the Israeli authorities as being lenient in holding those responsible for attacks on Christian and Islamic properties accountable. We also note their reluctance in safeguarding the freedom of expression, and their imposition of restrictive and provocative measures during non-Jewish religious observances. These actions represent clear violations of our heritage, existence, and historical legacy. They stand in opposition to the cultural, religious, and spiritual diversity that characterizes the holy lands, and are in conflict with the principles enshrined in human rights and international law.

The challenges that have accumulated in Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, including restrictions on Christian observances during holidays and on Muslims at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as alterations to the character of Palestinian neighborhoods, reveal a long-term Israeli strategy aimed at undermining the presence of Jerusalem’s inhabitants. This strategy involves taking over our neighborhoods in Jerusalem, intimidating its residents, reshaping the city, and altering its identity. This agenda sidelines the indigenous population and disregards their rights and freedoms. It occasionally even excludes Jews who dissent from the prevailing Israeli regime.

Jerusalem carries deep symbolic significance for the three major monotheistic religions and their various denominations. Its heritage is one of embracing diversity, respecting multiplicity, and upholding spiritual and humane values. Rooted in our Christian and Palestinian heritage within this land, and recognizing the significance of preserving our historical existence, safeguarding our sacred sites, and maintaining our traditions, we collectively appeal:

  • We call upon all Patriarchs and Church leaders, urging them to cooperate with us. It is imperative that we work hand in hand to protect our sacred sites. The targeting of any Christian or Palestinian spiritual symbol has an impact on all of us. Let us dutifully uphold the message of Christ by safeguarding our sanctities and the gatherings that have existed since the early days of the Church. Let us protect our legitimate human right to exist. By engaging in constructive and open dialogue inspired by our faith, we can avoid succumbing to policies of intimidation. Let us stand firm, believing that the Holy Spirit unites, consoles, and guides those who follow the path of truth.
  • We call upon our congregations, families, and Christian communities within our land, we recognize that our destinies are intertwined. The trials faced by one of us reverberate through all. Our response must be one of unity, resilience, steadfastness, and faith, modeled after the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. He taught us to love one another and to reject injustice and discrimination. Generation after generation since the early Christian community, we’ve kept the flame of faith alive and practiced our rituals. We’ve never and will never accept encroachments on our properties or their erosion. We believe that Jerusalem’s essence accommodates diversity, where we overcome all challenges.
  • We call upon our Palestinian and Arab brethren of diverse backgrounds; we emphasize the importance of collaborative efforts to safeguard the freedom of worship and protect the sanctities, guided by principles of brotherhood, dignity for all, and the imperative of preserving the cultural landmarks of East Jerusalem.
  • We call upon our brothers and sisters in churches worldwide. We sense a rising threat of displacement of Christians from the Holy Land. More than two thousand years ago, a message of love emanated from this land. Sustaining the Christian presence is vital to Jerusalem’s legacy. We appeal to you to engage earnestly and ardently in efforts to defend the freedom of worship in the Holy Land. Let us follow in the footsteps of the early Christians, both men and women, and have faith that God is with us.
  • We call upon our fellow believers within the Armenian Apostolic Church, both within the country and around the world. We share your concerns for Jerusalem and the Armenian Quarter. We urge His Beatitude Patriarch Nourhan Manougian to engage in dialogue with us and share additional details about the deal. It is time to move from reproach to action. The loss of any part of the Armenian Quarter, with its centuries-old history, could sound an alarm for the entire Christian presence in the city. We hope for measures to be implemented that protect the Quarter’s residents and the city itself, preserving its identity and the freedom of its inhabitants by annulling the deal. Our hope is that we will leave a legacy and a legacy for generations to come, with history commemorating these endeavors.
  • We call upon the Israeli authorities, as they bear the responsibility for security and safety in occupied East Jerusalem in accordance to international law and conventions. We call upon them to fulfill their duty of safeguarding our institutions and historical presence. The ceaseless attacks on our sanctities must stop, and protection for our sanctities and establishments must remain steadfast, without yielding to expansionist agendas. Jerusalem does not belong exclusively to any religion or faith; we are entitled to security and peace in our homes, neighborhoods, properties, and places of worship. This right is legally legitimate. We also address Israeli citizens and groups opposing current Israeli policies, encouraging them to take action and exert pressure to secure freedom of worship for all.
  • Lastly, we turn to the international community, urging you to assume your role with integrity and steadfastness. Support our cause and engage actively in efforts to end the occupation, and pressure Israel to uphold international law and human rights.

Standing unwavering and resolute, we lend our support to the endeavors of honorable young leaders who strive to protect our neighborhoods, sanctities, homeland, and historical legacy. We are dedicated to safeguarding all neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Let us endorse the movement to protect the Armenian Quarter and achieve justice and transparency. We call on maximum participation in weekly activities aimed at preserving the Armenian Quarter. We also call for the support of various initiatives designed to bolster the New Gate area and Jaffa Gate.

We are an integral thread in the cultural tapestry of Jerusalem, determined to remain deeply rooted in our land. Uprooting us from our historical heritage and the establishments that have endured for centuries is both unacceptable and implausible. Our commitment to our faith and rituals is unwavering. From this land, the divine message of love was launched, and it is on this land that we are determined to experience freedom, dignity, and lasting peace.

Aliqa Centre for Religious Studies
Arab Catholic Scouts Jerusalem
Arab Orthodox Club
Bethlehem Bible College

Caritas Jerusalem
Dar Al Kalima University
Four Homes of Mercy
Kairos Palestine
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
The Arab Educational Institute / Pax Christi
The Arab Orthodox Societies
The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches
The International Christian Committee
The Pontifical Mission Jerusalem
Wiam Centre
YMCA – Palestine
YWCA – Palestine

Friends of Sabeel Australia led a one-hour workshop about Palestinian Liberation Theology at the Palestine Solidarity Conference in Australia

On Friday 27 January, Friends of Sabeel Australia led a one-hour workshop about Palestinian Liberation Theology at the Palestine Solidarity Conference in Australia. The Palestine Solidarity Conference was organized by a coalition of activists and organizations committed to building the movement for Palestine in Australia and New Zealand. The past few years have seen an increase in grassroots support for the Palestinian cause in Australia, and the Palestine Solidarity Conference has helped to solidify wins as a movement and achieve bigger and more sustainable impacts. The workshop provided an in-depth look into the experiences of Palestinian Christians and the approach of Palestinian Liberation Theology. Friends of Sabeel Australia is part of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN).

The German Association of the Holy Land (DVHL) organized a meeting about the topic of interreligious dialogue in Palestine/Israel

On Monday 23 January, the German Association of the Holy Land (DVHL) organized a meeting about the topic of interreligious dialogue in Palestine/Israel. Hana Bendcowski from the Jerusalem Center for Jewish – Christian Relations (JCJCR) gave a one-hour presentation on the relations between Christians and Jews in Israel. Afterward, different partners talked about interreligious dialogue from their own perspective. Sabeel presented the approach of Palestinian Liberation Theology in interfaith dialogue.