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50 Moments for #JusticeAndPeace in the Holy Land

This year, 2017, marks several historic anniversaries of great importance to the history and development of the situation in Israel and Palestine and to the ecumenical community’s response to this situation. These “50 Moments” trace global ecumenical solidarity for justice and peace for all peoples in the Holy Land. They mark a pilgrimage from the WCC International Peace Conference in Bethlehem, 20-23 June, to the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel in September.
50 Moments for #JusticeAndPeace in the Holy Land

Jerusalem. ©Albin Hillert/WCC

Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. (Leviticus 25:10)

This year, 2017, marks several historic anniversaries of great importance to the history and development of the situation in Israel and Palestine and to the ecumenical community’s response to this situation – including 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 50 years since the Six Day War of 1967, and 10 years since the 2007 WCC International Peace Conference "Churches together for Peace and Justice in the Middle East" in Amman, Jordan.

These “50 Moments” trace global ecumenical solidarity for justice and peace for all peoples in the Holy Land. They mark a pilgrimage from the WCC International Peace Conference in Bethlehem, 20-23 June, to the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel in September.

Contribute to #JusticeAndPeace in the Holy Land. Share your hopes for a just peace and statements and actions from your own churches’ witness, particularly through Facebook and Twitter. Together we can demonstrate global solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis longing for a just and lasting peace.

 


1

We pray that hearts hardened by hatred and violence and eyes narrowed by power and fear of the other will be opened for new paths to peace, in which the God-given dignity and value of every human being can be equally recognized and respected.

Statement on 50 Years of Occupation, WCC Executive Committee, June 2017


2

Together we will act and pray and speak and work and risk reputations and lives to build with you bridges for an enduring peace among the peoples of this tortured and beautiful place -Palestine and Israel- to end these decades of injustice, humiliation and insecurity, to end the decades of living as refugees and under occupation.

The Amman Call, June 2007


3

In a region where communities of three religions met and lived together for long centuries, full religious freedom must be assured to all persons and communities.

Statement on the Middle East, WCC Central Committee, 1967


4

The resolutions of the United Nations have not been implemented, the territorial integrity of the nations involved is not respected, occupation continues, no settlement is in sight and a new armament race is being mounted.

Statement on the Middle East, WCC 4th Assembly, Nairobi, 1968


5

…no lasting peace is possible without respecting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian and Jewish people presently living in the area without effective international guarantee for the political independence and territorial integrity of all nations in the area, including Israel.

Statement on the Middle East, WCC Central Committee, 1969


6

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying "Peace, peace," when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:14 (NRSV)


7

The question of Jerusalem is not only a matter of protection of Holy Places, it is organically linked with living faiths and communities of people in the Holy City.

Statement on Jerusalem, WCC Central Committee, August 1974


8

Jerusalem is a Holy City for three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. "The tendency to minimize Jerusalem's importance for any of these three religions should be avoided."

Statement on Jerusalem, WCC 5th Assembly, 1975


9

If one member suffers, all members suffer together with it.

I Corinthians 12:26a (NRSV)


10

The destiny of Jerusalem should be viewed in terms of people including Christians as well as Jews and Muslims and not only in terms of shrines. Therefore, just as the future status of Jerusalem has been considered part of the destiny of the Jewish people, so it cannot be considered in isolation from the destiny of the Palestinian people, and should thus be determined within the general context of the settlement of the Middle East conflict in its totality.

Statement on Jerusalem, WCC Central Committee, August 1980


11

While only the churches of the Middle East can determine the nature and forms of their witness, it behoves all churches to strengthen their presence and support their ministry of reconciliation and witness for peace.

Statement on the Middle East, WCC 6th Assembly, 1983


12

The popular uprising in the Occupied Territories, which has entered the ninth month, reflects a new and profoundly significant stage in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Appeal to the UN Secretary General on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, WCC Central Committee, August 1988


13

We, the Heads of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem, would like to express in all honesty and clarity that we take our stand with truth and justice against all forms of injustice and oppression.

Heads of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem, January 1988


14

We affirm our human solidarity and sympathies with all who are suffering and oppressed; We pray for the return of peace based on justice to Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Heads of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem, April 1989


15

Pray to the Lord to strengthen us in hope and love to carry our burden as Shepherds of our people... that soon we will witness the end of human suffering and bloodshed in this Land of Peace, so that all of us together may glorify the name of the Lord.

Christmas Statement by the Heads of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem, 1989


16

Power of unity, help us to move from the Babel of division due to ethnic or religious boundaries to the Pentecost of unity in the diversity of our gifts, traditions and cultures. Make us messengers of the good news, apostles of peace.

Pentecost Prayer from Jerusalem, Middle East Council of Churches, 1990


17

We implore you to do everything possible to remove the threat of war in the region, and bring peace to this troubled spot on earth, so that future generations may live in peace and harmony together.

Urgent Appeal to the Leaders of the World by the Heads of the Christian Communities of the Holy Land, January 1991


18

It is never too soon nor too late to seek peace and a comprehensive settlement.

Statement on the Gulf War, the Middle East, and the Threat to World Peace, WCC 7th Assembly, 1991


19

We all face the challenge to be peacemakers... We call upon all parties concerned to remember that all people carry the same image and likeness of God and are children of the same Lord.

Message to the delegates of the peace conference in Madrid, from the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Communities in Jerusalem, October 1991


20

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Psalm 122:6a


21

Jerusalem is a city holy for the people of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Its unique nature of sanctity endows it with a special vocation: calling for reconciliation and harmony among people, whether citizens, pilgrims or visitors.

Memorandum of their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and of the heads of the Christian communities in Jerusalem, November 14, 1994


22

Our faith teaches us that there is no difference between the life of one person and another. There is no difference in God's eyes between Jew and Palestinian, between Arab and foreigner. God is the creator of all.

Call for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land: A Statement of the Patriarchs, Bishops, Clergy and People of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem, 1996


23

The peaceful settlement of the territorial claims of Palestinians and Israelis should respect the holiness and wholeness of the city.

Statement on the Status of Jerusalem, WCC 8th Assembly, 1998


24

As the Holy Land prepares itself to usher in a fresh millennium, We all pray and hope that Jerusalem will truly become faithful to its calling as a City of Peace.

Letter from Jerusalem, Patriarchs and Heads of Churches, 1999


25

We ask God to fill us with his mercy and clemency, to give us the grace to re-read our history together, and to give us in our present lives more love and unity so that we may be ‘joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment’ (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Message of the Patriarchs and Heads of Christian Communities in Jerusalem on the Occasion of the Great Jubilee in the Year 2000 (December 1999)


26

We are called to live as children of the light, marching ever onward on the way of justice and peace, for that is where we are supposed to discover life, joy, and fulfillment, even if we never achieve peace in our own lifetime.

Common Christmas Message 2000 of Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and Heads of the Christian Communities in the Holy Land


27

We experienced that both the Palestinian people and the people of Israel are yearning for peace and security, and that some do recognize that a precondition for a just and durable peace is for everyone to work together for an alternative vision to violence, to develop mutual confidence, to build a common future based on rights and respect for one another, international law and a process of negotiations that would lead to sharing the land, the truth and the peace.

Report of delegation to Israel/Palestine, August 2001


28

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Matthew 5:9


29

[The WCC Executive Committee] welcomes and affirms the initiatives undertaken by the General Secretary and staff of the World Council of Churches in implementing the recommendations of the Central Committee in Potsdam by promoting an active, coordinated ecumenical response to end the illegal occupation of Palestine; expressing solidarity with the Churches and Christian Communities most directly affected; and providing auspices for member churches to develop a plan of concerted non-violent ecumenical action to protect vulnerable communities in Palestine and to promote an end to the hostilities.

Resolution on Ecumenical Response to the Palestine-Israeli conflict, WCC Executive Committee September 2001


30

May the eyes and hearts of many open to see that injustice should make place for justice and freedom to all.

Christmas message 2001 by their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and all the Heads of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem


31

We ask, “Is this the future that we all want for our children?”

A Call from the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem to all the people in this Holy Land, Palestinians and Israelis, March 9, 2002


32

If the present Road Map for Peace is to bring positive results, we believe the Separation Wall constitutes a grave obstacle. For both nations, the Wall will result in a feeling of isolation.

Statement regarding the Separation Wall, August 2003, by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem


33

We pray and hope that the days are coming when the residents of Bethlehem and of all the Holy Land may live in freedom without the need for a wall of security and separation.

Christmas message by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, 2004


34

It is your solidarity that together with God's grace helps us to be advocates of Peace and ministers of Reconciliation in this war-torn place. God has given us the vision of Peace with Justice: Join with us to "make plain the vision".

Letter from the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, February 2006


35

In God's own design, two peoples and three religions have been living together in this city. Our vision is that they should continue to live together in harmony, respect, mutual acceptance and cooperation.

Status of Jerusalem, Patriarchs and Heads of the Local Christian Churches in Jerusalem, 2006


36

Whilst conscious of the care and concern shown by many of you we again would ask for your particular prayers for this Land that God will guide all its governors and show them the path of justice and equality between all.

Easter Message April 2007, The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem


37

All of us, together, must clearly affirm we are God’s children and so give specific support to work diligently for peace now.

A Message for International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel June 2007, The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem


38

Let us continue, then, to build trusting relationships that will allow for transformation which can come about only through continued dialogue and constructive confrontation in the spirit of Christian unity.

“Bern Perspective”, International Theological Conference on "Promised Land", September 2008


39

Jesus Christ, our brother and Saviour, who embraced encounters with people from different faith and cultural communities, embrace and uphold all who seek a just peace and reconciliation between divided peoples in the land of your human experience.

Prayer accompanying the Central Committee Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, September, 2009


40

God has put us here as two peoples, and God gives us the capacity, if we have the will, to live together and establish in it justice and peace, making it in reality God's land.

Kairos Palestine Document, 11 December 2009


41

For [Christ] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

Ephesians 2:14


42

As a city of two nations revered by the faithful of three religions, [Jerusalem] needs to be the place that models for the world the possibilities of living together peacefully in mutual respect.

Statement affirming the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East, WCC Tenth Assembly, Busan, October 2013


43

We renew the WCC’s denunciation of the occupation, as the key obstacle to peace.

Statement on situation in Israel and Palestine, WCC Executive Committee, November 2015


44

Peace with justice requires ending the long conflict, occupation, injustice and all acts of violence and terrorism and bringing back the land we call Holy to wholeness, peace, redemption and reconciliation for all of its inhabitants.

“Pursuing Peace and Strengthening Presence: The Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land”, April 2016


45

In the midst of violence and division, the ecumenical movement seeks to offer a word of hope, faith and love, encouraging and supporting actions for peace with justice.

Statement on the Israeli and Palestinian Conflict and Peace Process, WCC Central Committee, June 2016


46

No people should be denied their rights and, certainly, no people should be denied their rights for generations. The unresolved conflict in Israel and Palestine is primarily about justice, and until the requirement of justice is met, peace cannot be established.

Statement by general secretaries Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit (World Council of Churches) and Jim Winkler (National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA), September 2016


47

The Church all over the world prays from our hearts for justice and peace. We are in solidarity with one another and with all who are occupied, who are suffering from their fears, from violence, from war.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC General Secretary, during the Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land, 5 June 2017


48

It is possible to change a tragedy created by human actions into a situation of hope. The strongest voices for hope are those that come from within, from the context that seems to be a hopeless situation.

Introduction by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to the Bethlehem Consultation, June 2017


49

Do not silence in yourselves the voice of God, who is a God of love, not a God of war.

Welcome by Catholic Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah to the Bethlehem Consultation, June 2017


50

Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

Isaiah 32: 16-17 (NRSV)

 

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