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Reflections on our deeper crisis

An article on an interesting subject? No, not this time. I can only write from the deep crisis situation we are in at present. There is nothing else that keeps me more busy than the question of how to live with the anxiety and fear of the coronavirus and what to make of it.

A year participating in #ThursdaysinBlack

This will be my last weekly posting of a news article from the past week related to violence against women and girls around the world. Following the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches a year ago, I decided to join the WCC movement of #ThursdaysinBlack, to speak out against violence and discrimination by wearing black and by posting on Facebook each week, for the duration of one year.

I have a dream

Using Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, I crafted the following text to reflect the timelessness of Dr King’s speech, and to share my own personal dream within my context of the Holy Land. I am attempting to honor the original words of Dr King while, at the same time, making it clear that his passion and unflagging determination are still badly needed today. May the spirit of our dreams find unity in pursuing peace and justice for all human beings.

Bethlehem shepherds, water shortage and trees of hope

This Christmas Season I will have concrete places in my mind when I listen to the story of the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. I will think of the Bedouin community in Suyica, near Yatta, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. They live in tents and in caves because they are not allowed to build houses. Together with about 20 Methodists from around the globe representing the World Methodist Council, we visited them in October.

Khan Al Ahmar Bedouin community strives for justice amid grave daily challenges

Ecumenical Accompaniers from the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) report that residents, international non-governmental organizations, media, politicians have joined local Palestinian and Israeli peace activists in nonviolence resistance, protesting demolition actions by Israeli forces in the Khan al Ahmar Bedouin community.

The five stages of grief in Palestine and Israel

When it comes to the stance of churches towards the so-called conflict between Israel and Palestine, it is useful to understand it as a process of grief. The theory of the five stages of grief from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is a creative way to describe the “dying” and “mourning” process of the churches and international community. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 was seen by the Western world as a sign of justice for the suffering Jewish people after the Holocaust and centuries of persecution of Jews in Europe. Two elements played a major role in this initial excitement: the historical guilt of Europeans and the fulfilment of biblical prophecies related with the reestablishment of Israel.

The water we “eat”

The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has been observing World Water Day since its inception. It is an important occasion for all those working on water issues, including the WCC, to highlight the global water crisis. Particularly the Lenten campaign of the WCC, the “Seven Weeks for Water”, is an opportunity to galvanise its constituencies to discuss issues around water.

Walking to Emmaus

After a long walk in the streets of Bethlehem, we finally had the chance to wander around in the market for a couple of hours. Each Palestinian had to be a leader for some of the youth that were in the group, so a South African, two Germans, and a Swede formed my group. While hanging around on the roads, we passed by some tourist buses. One of the youths who were with me said: “Wow, there are a lot of tourists in Bethlehem. I’m glad I’m not a tourist but a pilgrim!”

Walking to Emmaus

At our first meeting in South Africa, a few months before going to Sweden for the first part of the international youth pilgrimage “Walking to Emmaus”, we were exited to meet each other and to know that we would all be going on a plane. It was a first for all of us so I’m sure you would imagine the excitement you could see on our faces going down the terminal and into the aeroplane.