Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions by Anita Damiani-Shanley

Like other Western colonial-settler experiments, for over 70 years, Zionists have been systematically erasing the culture and history of indigenous Palestinians to justify their forced removal and the theft of their land. Ilan Pappe, in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, calls this ‘memorocide’ and in The Palestine Nakba, Nur Masalha elaborates, 

“The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine.”

This is why books such as Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions are so vital in recording the memories and eyewitness accounts of Arabs and Palestinians who experienced the arrival of Western colonialists to the Middle East, were co-opted into their wars, witnessed the rise of Zionism and then became refugees in the Palestinian Nakba.  Anita Damiani-Shanley’s book will most certainly help perpetuate their heritage and rightful historic claim to Palestine.

Ancestral Journeys is however much more than the story of two families, one Arab and the other Scottish joined in marriage. It traces the influence of missionaries, archaeologists, traders and colonialists competing with each other for a share of the Near East as the Ottoman Empire met its demise. Richly illuminated with family photos, the three main chapters trace the ancestral journeys of Damiani-Shanley’s extended family from Scotland and Lebanon to Iraq and then to Palestine. A fourth chapter traces the role of the Anglican Church in Palestine.  

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An Open Letter from Christian Clergy from the Bethlehem Area

“Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed.” (Jeremiah 22:3)

We are writing this letter in our capacity as spiritual leaders of various Christian communities in the Bethlehem Area. The Israeli Government is planning to annex more occupied Palestinian land. According to the information they have released, this process could begin on July 1st. For Palestine, Bethlehem and particularly for its Christian population, this new process of annexation will be particularly catastrophic.

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Peter Cohen Remembered

It is with sadness we share the news that Peter passed away late yesterday afternoon, 23 May 2020, following surgery for stomach cancer. His family wrote, “Although we are utterly bereft we rejoice in the knowledge that he is in the presence of his Lord and Saviour.”

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The Living Stones

The Living Stones of the Holy land Trust has launched a new website.

The Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust is an ecumenical charity with the primary aim of advancing education about Christianity in the Holy Land and countries around, by:

  • raising awareness in Britain and elsewhere, educating and informing the public concerning Christians in the Holy Land, through our website, lectures, newsletter and a yearbook of academic theological articles;
  • promoting contacts between Christians (and others) in Britain and in the Holy Land, e.g. through pilgrimages promoting encounter, reflection and witness;
  • cooperating with other charities and groups with similar aims, by sharing activities and information

Visit the Living Stones website

Living Stones Yearbooks

The Living Stones of the Holy land Trust Yearbooks are now available to download for free. https://www.livingstonesonline.org.uk/yearbook

The Living Stones Yearbooks have been produced annually since 2012. They present a range of important articles providing a platform for informed debate and scholarship concerning the life and times, historical and current, of the Christian communities in and around the Middle East.

Previous Yearbook editions

The Living Stones Yearbook is produced and distributed by Melisende UK Ltd from whom you can also order a print copy.

Managing Editor: Leonard Harrow
Editors: Mary Grey; Duncan Macpherson; Anthony O’Mahony; Colin South

Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust

The Living Stones of the Holy land is an ecumenical charity with the primary aim of advancing education about Christianity in the Holy Land and countries around, by:

  • raising awareness in Britain and elsewhere, educating and informing the public concerning Christians in the Holy Land, through our website, lectures, newsletter and a yearbook of academic theological articles;
  • promoting contacts between Christians (and others) in Britain and in the Holy Land, e.g. through pilgrimages promoting encounter, reflection and witness;
  • cooperating with other charities and groups with similar aims, by sharing activities and information.

Our spiritual patrons include:

In the Middle East: Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem; Patriarch Gregorios III, Melkite Patriarch (Emeritus) of Antioch; Nora Carmi, Co-ordinator for Kairos Palestine; Bishop Theodosius of Sebastia, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem; Patriarch Fuad Tual, Latin Patriarch (Emeritus) in Jerusalem; Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran Bishop (Emeritus) in Jerusalem ; Jean Zaru, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) co-founder of Sabeel

Elsewhere: Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster; Revd Baroness Richardson of Calow, Methodist Church in Britain; Archbishop John Sentamu, Anglican Archbishop of York; Bishop Desmond Tutu, former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.

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Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust: Who is My Neighbour?

Did you realise that once broadcast, TV signals begin an endless journey outward into the cosmos at the speed of light?  That means our earliest TV broadcasts are probably travelling through star systems more than 400 trillion miles from earth. Do you realise that our neighbours living 60 light years away are watching the first episodes of the Lone Ranger in black and white. 50 light years away they are now watching Bonanza. 40 light years away they have moved on to the original Star Trek series. 30 light years away they are able to watch the Dukes of Hazzard. Just 20 light years away it’s the Sopranos. Those only 10 light years away are being blessed by countless episodes of Lost. Scientists tell us that the further away your neighbours live, the more likely they are to hold outdated, inaccurate and stereotypical views of you.

Does it worry you what your neighbours think about you? What impression do you give them? Is it accurate or a distortion? When they see you coming, are they welcoming or do they lock the door and hide? Does it matter what impression you give? What about the people next door? Over the road? Down the street?

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