World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Four pastors among 18 new ecumenical accompaniers

Four pastors among 18 new ecumenical accompaniers

05 May 2005

A new group of 18 ecumenical accompaniers last week joined four others staying on in Israel and Palestine from the previous group within the framework of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The new arrivals bring the total number of ecumenical accompaniers now on the ground to 22.

The eleven women and seven men in the new group range in age from 25 to 68. Five come from Norway, five from South Africa, three from Britain, three from Sweden and one each from France and Switzerland.

Three of the South African accompaniers are pastors - two from the Anglican Church and one from the Salvation Army. One of the Swedish accompaniers is a pastor in the Baptist Church. The French accompanier is an Italian citizen and a member of the Waldensian Church of Italy, while one of the accompaniers from Britain is a native of Ireland.

Ecumenical accompaniers serve a minimum of three months and work in various capacities with local churches, Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, as well as Palestinian communities to try to reduce the brutality of the occupation and improve the daily lives of both peoples. Accompaniers will continue to be placed in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jayyous, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Tulkarem, and Yanoun.

Four Danish accompaniers from the previous group will continue their service to the programme. One accompanier with journalism skills will continue his work with the Alternative Information Center (AIC), a joint Palestinian-Israeli initiative. The other three Danes are medical students, and will continue their work with the Ramallah-based Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC). Part of their job is to accompany mobile health clinics bringing medical attention to people who can’t get to hospitals or health care facilities due to the restrictions on freedom of movement.

Since the programme was launched in August 2002, 198 ecumenical accompaniers have participated from more than 30 churches and ecumenical partners in 12 countries: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For more information on the EAPPI:

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was launched in August 2002. Ecumenical accompaniers monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, support acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offer protection through non-violent presence, engage in public policy advocacy, and stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation. The programme is co-ordinated by the World Council of Churches.