Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Christian Leaders from Bethlehem visiting the USA

Charles Lutz, CMEP representative in the Twin Cities, provided a report on Pastor Mitri Raheb's activities in the USA last week.

Christian Leaders from Bethlehem on US Speaking Tour

The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Palestine, [] spent the first week of March in Minnesota speaking in more than a score of church and academic settings.

A theological scholar and founder of numerous creative ministries serving Palestinians in the greater Bethlehem community, Pastor Raheb’s visit was organized by the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

About 1,000 professional leaders and lay persons from the two synods heard his exploration of the Israel/Palestine conflict “through the eyes of a Palestinian Christian.”

Pastor Raheb met with students in classes at Concordia University and Luther Seminary in St. Paul and Augsburg College in Minneapolis. At those three Lutheran educational institutions he also preached in chapel services. At the end of the week he gave two days to presentations at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and Festival at Augsburg College. And he met with groups from two local churches, one Lutheran and one Presbyterian, in Minneapolis.

Perhaps the week’s most memorable word from Raheb came during a Peace Prize Forum panel discussion on Interfaith Conversations and Peacemaking. Reflectting on the role of religion in the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said, “We have too much religion in the Holy Land. God must be looking down and saying, ‘Give me a break!’ "

Enroute to his Minnesota visit, Pastor Raheb was in Washington, D.C., where he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and visited Congressional offices and the State Department. After leaving Minnesota he spent a day at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.

Dr. Nuha Khoury, a colleague of Pastor Raheb, was present for the latter half of the week in Minnesota. She met with academic administrators from nearly a dozen Lutheran colleges of the Upper Midwest region, discussing possible links with Dar al-Kalima College in Bethlehem [].

Dr. Khoury is dean of that newly established school, sponsored by Christmas Lutheran Church with a focus on training professionals in media, music, and the arts. Dr. Khoury also spoke to several congregation groups.

For information about how to support the college and other scholarships, see the link to "Bright Stars of Bethlehem" -

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