Friday, September 25, 2015

World Week for Peace and ELCA bishop's statement

World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel
The 2015 World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel is underway (Sept. 20-26) with the theme "God has broken down the dividing walls." The special week is organized by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches. Member churches, faith-based communities, and civil society organizations around the world have been encouraged to join together this year for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel. Congregations and individuals around the globe who share the hope of justice have been uniting during this  week to take peaceful actions - together - to create a common international public witness. Click this link for information and resources. It's not too late to join this effort. 

ELCA presiding bishop calls for end to incursions onto Palestinian land, demolition of Palestinian property
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has urged chairs and ranking members U.S. Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees to call upon the Israeli government to halt the ongoing incursions onto Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinian property.

In a Sept. 10 letter to U.S. officials, Eaton wrote to express her distress about actions of the Israeli government that make prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians "more difficult in the short- and medium-term and threaten further the realization of a just two-state solution which so many of us seek."

As ELCA presiding bishop, Eaton said that she follows closely the situation in Israel and Palestine, "because the events there directly affect the situation and ministries of our companion church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and the lives, livelihoods and security of Israelis and Palestinians."

"We join our sisters and brothers of the Roman Catholic tradition in expressing in the strongest possible terms our outrage over the resumption of construction of the separation wall in the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank," wrote Eaton, who visited the Cremisan Valley this year. "I could see the existing and then-potential threats that the planned path of the wall would have on the Palestinian communities there," she wrote. The Most Rev. Oscar Cantu, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the Israeli authorities to stop work on the separation wall in the Cremisan Valley. Lutherans and Catholics in the United States have been in dialogue for the past 50 years.
Read the full news release at this link.

A petition seeking to `Stop the illegal Separation Barrier!'
Recently the shocking situation in the Cremisan valley and Bir Ouna has come to the attention of the world. Israeli forces have been uprooting hundreds of olive trees in order to clear space for a new section of the Separation Barrier. This new effort to annex occupied Palestinian territory directly affects Palestinian wellbeing. These developments have been distressing for the entire Palestinian community. It has a direct impact especially on Palestinian Christians, who are made more vulnerable by these actions from the Government of Israel. This is a clear violation of international law.

The construction of the wall on occupied land is a breach of international law – the Cremisan Valley is only the latest victim. Local Palestinian Christian communities urge you to put pressure on Israel to:
- immediately stop the illegal construction of the Separation Barrier on occupied land,
 - dismantle the sections already constructed on all occupied territory, and
 - replant the uprooted olive trees and compensate farmers who have lost their trees.

Sign the petition at this link and please share it with others.

ELCJHL provides resources for worship
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land now provides a web page featuring worship resources to share with US congregation.  All resources, liturgies, prayers and hymns, are in transliterated English unless otherwise noted. Hymns are available for listening! This page will be updated periodically.  Check back frequently for new resources.
Link to worship resources here.

Uh oh Jerusalem 
Here's a blog post by Emanuel Shahaf. His analysis of the injustice and turmoil in Jerusalem is an Israeli's perspective: "...the Palestinian parts of Jerusalem have been systematically neglected over many years, their infrastructure has deteriorated (or not been built), the supply of basic utilities is not assured at all times of the day and thousands of students remain without adequate space, being taught in poorly equipped school buildings.

"In addition, the construction of the security wall to separate the West Bank from Jerusalem, a Jerusalem united in words only, has severely affected the life of Palestinian Jerusalemites who have been separated from easy and direct access to the eastern suburbs of the city. They need to travel an inordinate amount of time to travel even short distances since the security wall has only a few passages placed for security considerations, not convenience of the local inhabitants.

"At the same time, the rightwing coalition forming Israel’s government is under considerable pressure to change the rules on the Temple Mount to permit Jews to pray there, in contravention of the status quo. Indeed it’s not easy to explain why Jews should not be allowed to pray on the mount while Muslims are, but as long as the conflict with the Palestinians is not settled, this issue is unlikely to be resolved. The Palestinians are scared that permission to pray is only the first step on the path to change the rules on the Mount in favor of the Jews even further, a fear that cannot easily be discounted when listening to the voices in the government."

I don't agree with everything Shahaf says in this column, but I think it's worth a look. Read the Shahaf blog post at this link. 

Folks Art Mavens products on sale now
My friend Jan Hayden runs Folk Art Mavens, and she's having a sale right now. Jan writes, "Get your glass and ceramics now. First for the bad news: Folk Art Mavens decided that it was not feasible to reorder glass and ceramics this year.  We hate to disappoint our customers, so we're letting you know to encourage you to order the glass and ceramics that remain before the pre-Christmas rush. It's going fast!

Now for the good news:  We have been busy replenishing our embroidery, cards, and olive wood, have added beautiful wheat and olive branch baskets to our line-up, and now offer three traditional Palestinian foods.

Check out Folk Art Mavens at the website. Here's a link. 

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