It has been a delight to participate in the first Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the USA. Hosted by churches in Oklahoma City, the conference was attended by about 150 participants from the USA, Canada, Israel, Palestine and Europe.
The theme of the conference was “Exploring Holy Land Realities and our Response”. Subjects discussed through plenaries and breakout sessions included Palestinian Christianity in the Midst of the Conflict; Jewish and Christian Attitudes to the Conflict; Christian Zionism; Strategies of Nonviolent Resistance; and Promoting Peace.
“In more than twenty years of leading groups to experience the land of the Bible, I’ve discovered a community of Jesus followers seeking to live out a vital and faithful witness who are largely discounted and forgotten. Christ at the Checkpoint USA is an effort to tell their story.” (Darrell Cates: Conference Director)
Speakers included Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish (Daughters of Life Foundation), Revd Alex Awad (Bethlehem Bible College), Mubarak Awad (Nonviolence International), Sami Awad (Holy Land Trust), Dr Mark Braverman (Kairos USA), Dr Gary Burge (Calvin Theological Seminary), Revd Dr Mae Cannon (Centre for Middle East Peace), Archbishop Elias Chacour (Greek Melkite Church), Rabbi Michael Davis (Makom Shalom), Bishop Robert Hayes (United Methodist Church), Dr Munther Isaac (Evangelical Lutheran Church), Jonathan Kuttab (Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence), Dr Gerald McDermott (Beeson Divinity School), Revd Bob Roberts (Glocal Ventures), Rev Dr Jack Sara (Bethlehem Bible College), Dr Joel Willitts (North Park University) and Grace Zoughbi (Bethlehem Bible College).
I gave a paper on Seven Biblical Answers to Popular Questions about Israel and the Church based on my book Zion’s Christian Soldiers? which now available on Kindle. I also helped draft the conference statement.
At the close of the conference participants endorsed the following statement and manifesto:
Christ at the Checkpoint USA
As participants of the Christ at the Checkpoint USA conference held in Oklahoma City, October 15-18, 2018, we have listened to the cry of our Palestinian Christian sisters and brothers as well as Muslim and Jewish friends.
We commit to stand with and walk in solidarity with them and all peacemakers striving in hope and steadfastness for a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine.
We commit to:
- Revisit our theology and repudiate any elements that deny the centrality of Christ, that fail to respect the image of God in all people or justify exclusive claims to the Holy Land.
- Review our morally and socially responsible investments to ensure they favor companies and institutions that uphold international law and strengthen communities, irrespective of race or religion.
- Promote pilgrimages that respect and connect with the Living Stones of the Holy Land.
- Channel our charitable giving through indigenous churches, Christian agencies and ministries promoting peace-making and development.
We thank Bethlehem Bible College for initiating the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences.
We commit to promoting the message and manifesto of Christ at the Checkpoint in the USA through our churches and mission agencies in the future.
Christ at the Checkpoint USA
October 18, 2018
And some more photos of the conference.