Friday, April 4, 2008

In Seattle: Standing with the Living Stones of Israel and Palestine

Standing with the Living Stones of Israel and Palestine

For readers in the Seattle area, take note of an outstanding event coming up, a conference on Christians in Israel and Palestine, April 18-19 in Seattle -

The purpose of the "Living Stones" conference is to support Christians in the Holy Land by increasing knowledge about them among congregations and ministries in Western Washington, resulting in stronger connections and new partnerships.

There's an impressive list of sponsors, including Pastor David C. Wold, Bishop Emeritus, SW Washington Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The timing is critical

The "Living Stones" conference evolved out of a sense of urgency to support the alarming decline in the number of Christians in the land of Christ's birth. In the cradle of our faith, there is a living, faithful community whose existence is threatened and who feel forgotten. By way of example, the number of Anglican Christians has plummeted from 4% of the population to 2% in recent years.

Although there are numerous church, church-affiliated, and not-for-profit efforts in the Holy Land, there is presently no concerted effort to bring Northwest Christians together to learn from and partner with our Christian brothers and sisters.

This conference will focus on encouraging a thriving Christian community and a just peace. We believe that by uniting to stand together, we can have a significant positive impact on the future of our sisters and brothers in the region and on the churches and individuals in the Northwest. Indeed, Christians from the Holy Land have encouraged us to do so.

Time is running out. The Christian presence and witness in the place of Christ's birth is at stake.

The conference will be held in two University District locations. On Friday, join us for daytime events at the University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave. N.E. in Seattle. Friday evening and Saturday events are at the University Presbyterian Church, 4540 15th Ave NE. The churches are one block away from each other in Seattle's University District.

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 18
9-10 am - Sign – in and Registration – University Christian Church

Friday morning:
The Christians of the Holy Land - Dr. Bernard Sabella
A historical perspective – Dr. Steve Niva

Friday lunch
Growing up as a Palestinian Christian
Panel to include Dr. Sabella, Mr. Sami Awad,Rev. Fahed Abu Akel, and Grace Yateem

Friday afternoon
Theological reflections - Rev. Jane Barron
The Holy Land today – choice of two 50-minute workshops
Education for non-violence and practice
Relationships between Muslim and Christian Palestinians
The role of women in the Church and Palestinian society
Reframing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict
Arab Christians in America
Theology of the Land
US foreign policy in the Middle East

5:30 pm Social Hour – University Presbyterian Church
Dinner Buffet and keynote speaker – Dr. Bernard Sabella

Saturday, April 19
8:30 Registration - University Presbyterian Church

Saturday morning
Education for non-violent conflict resolution – Mr. Sami Awad
Focus on Solutions – panel discussion: The role of the churches here and there

Saturday lunch

Witness group roundtable - tourists, partners, accompaniers and volunteers

Saturday afternoon
Planning for action – choice of two 50 minute workshops
Tours, volunteers and accompaniers
Advocacy – the press and public policy
Interfaith cooperation and coalition building
Church partners and companion relations
Higher education-the role of the universities
Keeping Hope Alive – the power of prayer
Campus youth organizations
Economic development and empowerment

Commitment to action

Closing worship

For more information, contact steering committee co-chairs:
Shannon Parks-Beck
John Berg
Mary Pneuman

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