The new Church Project will be launched on Palm Sunday, 1 April 2012.
How did the project come about?
The document Kairos Palestine – A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering, written by heads of churches in Jerusalem, urges Western Christians to help end the occupation that deprives Palestinians of their rights and distorts the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians. Soon after Kairos was published, the Methodist Church of Great Britain responded in 2010 with the report Justice for Palestine and Israel. It includes recommendations to get involved, develop our understanding and work with others for a just peace for all.
Some of us had visited Palestine and Israel and felt moved to get more involved. As a small group we planned the day on 20 November 2011 when Jan Sutch Pickard preached and talked about her experience as an Ecumenical Accompanier, and then we organised a Sunday evening discussion a couple of weeks later. These events were well attended and people had lots to contribute, and so then it was suggested that this could be the dedicated Church Project from April 2012.
What will the project include?
The two strands, education and action, will be underpinned by prayer and will closely follow the recommendations outlined in the Methodist Report. Here are some aspects we could consider:
- current impressions, for example hearing from Judy H about her recent visit in March;
- historical background – how has this situation arisen?
- inviting CEMC young people to be involved, using resources produced by the Methodist Church of Great Britain;
- music, crafts, cookery;
- Israeli, Palestinian and World Council of Churches organisations;
- participating in the World Council of Churches week of prayer and action in June;
- dialogue with other faiths and denominations;
- a reading list of books and watching films to develop our understanding.
Further learning and practical action will take place through contact with and donations to The Villages Group who support villages in the West Bank. These Palestinian and Israeli volunteers work together to support people affected by Israel’s occupation in rural areas: in a rural health clinic, a music school, education projects, a kindergarten and a wind turbine. And more than that, they build neighbourly human relationships. We have established links with them already, and we have met two who are visiting the UK.
How can you be involved?
We aim to set up a permanent page on this website for the project to advertise events organised by CEMC and others. We will also use the display boards in the café. The project can be flexible and responsive to your interests, and we welcome your ideas and involvement as we intend it to be participatory and inclusive.
“Let your kingdom – your community – come”
In everything we do in this project, can we live our our faith, seek justice, and build peace, through compassionate dialogue with others with a range of views whether they are in our own communities or beyond? And can we learn from and include the marginalised?
(Submitted by Ruth A, Gillian L, Monica S, Roger S, and Laurent V)