Monday, October 11, 2010

ELCA Middle East Network October Newsletter

ELCA Middle East Network Newsletter
Oct. 7, 2010

Bishop Hanson joins interfaith call for U.S. leadership for Middle East peace
Bishop Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, joined 27 other leaders of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI) in releasing a statement urging prayer and offering hope for the peace talks. In addition, members of the NILI coalition met on September 29 with Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, Jeffrey D. Feltman, assistant secretary of state, Near Eastern Affairs, and General James L. Jones, U.S. national security advisor. Dennis Frado, director, Lutheran Office for World Community, represented Bishop Hanson who was unable to be at the meetings. To read the full NILI statement and the ELCA press release:

Bishop Younan reflects on the role of religion in the Middle East in Washington Post blog
Bishop Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and president of the Lutheran World Federation, addressed the question, "Can religion solve conflicts in the Middle East?" in a column in the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog. Younan asks, "Is the problem religion or extremism in religion?" He goes on to say, "The answer can be found in an early Christian text: 'Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.'" (1 John 4:20) The piece, originally published in Common Ground News Service as part of a series on the role of religious leadership in the Israeli-Arab conflict, can be found at this link:

Fragile peace talks hinge on extension of Israeli settlement freeze
As this issue of the newsletter is being written, the future of Palestinian and Israeli direct peace talks is tenuous at best after the expiration of the Israeli settlement freeze. At the same time, voices around the globe call for the continuation of talks, and leaders are working to come up with a formula that will allow the talks to continue. Christian and interfaith groups are urging diligence and offering prayers as the sense of urgency is great. See the ELCA's Peace Not Walls home page for updates on the peace talks and the church's voice in support of a just peace -

Find analysis and updates also on the web site of Churches for Middle East Peace -

`Budrus,' documentary about effort to save a Palestinian village, opens in three U.S. cities
The film, `Budrus,' is an award winning documentary about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. `Budrus' will be opening at the Quad Cinema in New York on October 8, at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles on October 22, and the West End Cinema in Washington, D.C. on October 29, followed by additional showings around the country. To learn more or to organize an event around the film, contact Nadav Greenberg, Just Vision’s Outreach and Media Associate, at or 857-234-6728.

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