Mary and Joseph relied on the welcome of strangers when they arrived in Bethlehem after a long journey.In today’s world, who is seeking shelter? Who is seeking freedom from fear? Who is seeking freedom from want? Who is offering the shelter of just peace to sisters and brothers in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories? What is our response to the knock on our doors?
And Elizabeth was filled withthe Holy Spirit and exclaimedwith a loud cry, ‘Blessed areyou among women, andblessed is the fruit of yourwomb. And why has thishappened to me, that themother of my Lord comes tome? For as soon as I heard thesound of your greeting, thechild in my womb leapt forjoy. And blessed is she whobelieved that there would be afulfilment of what was spokento her by the Lord.’ (Art: JaneRay. Used with kind permission)
But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah,from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel,whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth;then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.And he shall stand and feed his flock in thestrength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord hisGod.And they shall live secure, for now he shall begreat to the ends of the earth;and he shall be the one of peace. (Micah 5:2-5)
The Dar AnnadwaCentre, anecumenical projectrun by the Lutherancommunity. It offersjob training to youngpeople, trains youngcraftspeople andartists, runs a fairtrade store andwelcomes visitors toits conference centre.
The Wall isstrangling thecommunity’sspiritual lifeandeconomy, andforcingpeople to seekpermits forwork inJerusalem.
Checkpoint 200 is a hugecomplex within the Wallthat controls movementbetween Jerusalem andBethlehem.Anyone with a Jerusalemwork permit must passthrough it.Thousands of Palestinianmen line up everyday, often beginning at1:00AM (left side ofphoto). They can beturned back for any reasonand can lose their jobs as aresult.
Checkpoint 300, 5:00AM in December.“ When we werestanding at thecheckpoint beforedawn and could seethe men’s facesthrough the bars, Ireally thought I wasgoing crazy. Because Ikept feeling I wasseeing Jesus’ face ashe carried the crossthrough the streets.”Fulata Moyo, WCCWomen’s DeskCoordinator
“Record!I am an Arab/ Employed withfellow workers at a quarryI have eight children/ I getthem breadGarments and books/ fromthe rocks...”(Mahmoud Darwish: IdentityCard)A worker shows his ID card tothe Israeli soldier monitoringthe second stage of thecheckpoint.
Greetings to the one whoshares with me an attentiontoThe drunkenness of light, thelight of the butterfly, in theBlackness of this tunnel!(Palestinian poet MahmoudDarwish, Under Siege) A World Council of ChurchesEcumenical Accompaniermonitors conditions in thecheckpoint.
Neta is amember ofMachsom(“Checkpoint”)Watch, a JewishIsraeli groupthat enters thecheckpoints andadvocates withthe soldiers, andrecords anyinstances ofabuse.
Opening worship at an international ecumenical conference at the Wi’am Centre, 2011.
“We wish we hadmore holy days inChristianity, so wecould apply formore permits tovisit Jerusalem.” Dr.Muna Musharraf.Jerusalem is withinwalking distancebut many cannotget permits fromIsrael to get to itsholy sites. Thisdrawing illustratesthe longing.
Message from The courtyard at KAIROS partner Wi’am with theZoughbi, 23 ever-present Wall. Director Zoughbi Zoughbi speaking and KAIROS staff member John LewisNovember 2012: translating to French.“Our office hasbecome the areawhere the kids andothers demonstrateand where we receivetear gas bottles andsound bombs, andwhere the Israelisoldiers shower uswith “skunk water”-which is like sewagedrainage ... for tendays we have beensuffering from that.”
You who stand inIsraeli soldier and Palestinian boys the doorway, cometalking, centre of occupied Hebron. The in/ drink ArabicOccupation deprives all sides of their coffee with ushumanity, but some build bridges. and you will sense that you are men like us. You who stand in the doorways of houses come out of our morningtimes,/ we shall feel reassured to be men like you! (Mahmoud Darwish: Under Siege)
Palestinians and Israelis alike ask us to learn about the origins and impact of the Occupation. Learn about your Remember in prayer and church’s policy and the action those who work partners it works with in for justice and peace far the region. from the Don’t be afraid to learn headlines, refusing to and discuss. Hold a study give up hope. How can we group or film festival. support them? Hold a workshop- KAIROS can help.
Buy fair trade olive oil and goods Zatoun is a Canadian not for profit company that imports fair trade olive oil, soap and more from the Occupied Territories. By purchasing it, selling it or convincing your local store to do so, you support farmers trying to stay on their land. www.zatoun.com
Ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane.Olive trees are cherished as members of the family.
Support EAPPI The Ecumenical Accompaniment program of the World Council of Churches has brought over 1,000 non violent accompaniers and monitors to the Occupied Territories. Canadians are among them.
The Kairos Palestine call....Is the PalestinianChristians’ecumenical, non-violent response tothe ongoingmilitaryoccupation, building ofsettlements, andviolence.Canadians areasked to read itand learn from it.
Going to the area? Spend time with Palestinians Many who travel to Israel with a tour company don’t know they’re even in the Occupied Territories. Few stay overnight. Make sure you do- you will be welcomed. And ask tour companies to put Palestinian businesses and visits on their itineraries. Look up alternative tours.
The Wi’am Centre for Conflict Resolution (Bethlehem) The Sabeel Ecumenical Centre for Liberation Theology (Jerusalem) The Jerusalem Centre for Women The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (with work in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria- wherever there are Palestinian refugees) The Coalition of Women for Peace (Tel Aviv, Israel)
KAIROS is: YOU! KAIROS is: A network of over 20 global partners Supportive local churches (KAIROS Communities) Ecumenical and interfaith Communities Individual Companions Local and regional partnerships
The Anglican Church of Canada The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops The Canadian Religious Conference The Christian Reformed Church in North America (Canada Corporation) The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada The Mennonite Central Committee Canada The Presbyterian Church in Canada The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) The United Church of Canada
Check the KAIROS website, Facebook group and Twitter feed for resources and perspectives that add to your work for social justice.Bring your faith community’s perspective and energy to the KAIROS ecumenical justice journey.Join us locally and regionally for events, workshops and worship related to just peace for Israelis and Palestinians- and more. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org