In past week, Sabeel held meetings with a number of groups of internationals visiting the Holy Land. We met a German delegation, part of the YMCA, a group of elders from the Church of Scotland, and a group from the organization Eyewitness Palestine. We have greatly valued these meetings with a very diverse group of people from around the world.
On Thursday 20 October, the work of Lana Mazawi and Ranin Kirreh, at Sabeel, was terminated. Lana has been a member of the Sabeel community since 2008 working in the Nazareth office. Ranin joined Sabeel in 2019 working as the administrative assistant at the Sabeel office in Jerusalem. We wish them the best of luck as they move forward and hope that they remain closely connected to Sabeel.
On Tuesday 18 October, Sabeel and the Educational Bookshop held a book launch at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem for Donald Wagner’s new book ‘Glory to God in the Lowest: Journeys to an Unholy Land’. Palestinians, internationals, and some Israelis attended the launch event. Don spoke about his journey growing up as an evangelical Christian and Christian Zionist to becoming an advocate for Palestine. Most of the discussion focused on the topic of Christian Zionism.
On Sunday 16 October, Friends of Sabeel France held an online meeting with the Rosary Sisters Ghada Nimeh, from the Rosary Sisters, spoke about their different ministries, especially their ministry of education to young Palestinian Girls. The Rosary Sisters are a Palestinian Catholic order that has dedicated most of its work to teaching Palestinian girls and women. They have a number of schools in Palestine and in the Middle East.
On Saturday 15 October, Sabeel and the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center held a book launch in Bethlehem for Donald Wagner’s new book, ‘Glory to God in the Lowest: Journeys to an Unholy Land’. Both internationals and locals attended the launch event. Rev. Don spoke about his journey growing up as an evangelical Christian and Christian Zionist to becoming an advocate for Palestine.
On Tuesday 11 through Thursday 13 October, Sabeel held its annual clergy retreat at the Sea of Galilee. 32 clergy participated in the retreat. The retreat built connections among the clergy and also among the wives of the church leaders. The retreat included a half-day workshop on developing sermons and discussions about the challenges that our Christian families are going through in Palestine/Israel (specifically the issue of divorce in our society), proper financial management, governance, and listening to the community.
At the end of September and beginning of October, staff and volunteers from Sabeel attended the Lausanne World Creation Care Network Conference on the Environment for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The conference took place in Jordan. Climate justice is part of our liberation theology at Sabeel and we have been investing in this issue during the past years in small ways in our work. We are planning to give more attention to climate justice over the coming years. 75 people participated in the conference. The Sabeel delegation included seven Palestinian Christian female leaders.
On Friday 23 September, Sabeel and a coalition of Christian organizations and activists organized a day of pilgrimage in the Old City of Jerusalem. The first part of the pilgrimage was held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a holy place for Christians. Over 450 people started the day by visiting the church, lighting candles, and singing hymns. The participants met with the local community. We ended the day with a time of fellowship in the Old City’s Armenian Quarter, where we lit candles. At the Armenian Quarter, the community lit a bonfire, which is the tradition of the Holy Fire ceremony. People came from different cities and villages and 12 parishes from throughout the Holy Land to participate in the pilgrimage.
The Feast of the Cross celebrates the finding of Jesus’ cross by Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. When the cross was found, fire signals were lit from Jerusalem to Constantinople, this is why we celebrate the feast day by starting a bonfire. The feast is also a celebration of the power of the cross that overcomes sin and suffering.