Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions: A Review

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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Christian-Muslim Relations in Syria: Revd Dr Andrew Ashdown

Revd Dr Andrew Ashdown answers questions about his new book ‘Christian-Muslim relations in Syria: Historic and Contemporary Religious Dynamics in Changing Contexts’, published by Routledge.

Offering an authoritative study of the plural religious landscape in modern Syria and of the diverse Christian and Muslim communities that have cohabited the country for centuries, this volume considers a wide range of cultural, religious and political issues that have impacted the interreligious dynamic, putting them in their local and wider context. 

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Supporting Relief Work in Disaster-Stricken Beirut

We are glad to promote the relief work of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), especially in the light of the tragic explosion in Beirut this week. Here is a brief update from the LSESD team on the ground.

Visit MEBO’s emergency response page to learn how you can partner with us and how to pray: www.mebo.org/helpbeirut

Founded in 1998 with roots going back to 1955, LSESD is a Lebanese faith-based organization with a focus on inclusive education, relief & development, and equipping the church. With its reach throughout the Middle East & North Africa, LSESD seeks to empower the local Church and serve the local community regardless of background by:

  • Restoring hope to the vulnerable and marginalized 
  • Building bridges with local communities 
  • Nurturing servant leaders and responsible citizens

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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THIS IS THE HOLY LAND (Exodus 3:5). IT NEEDS JUSTICE AND ONLY JUSTICE

A Statement by three former Heads of Churches in Jerusalem on the Israeli Annexation plans

“Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ. Greetings from the Land of the Holy One, Israel and Palestine.

The Holy Land is in fire, in a situation of war, and needs to be restored to its holiness. It is full of human sufferings, because justice is absent. The land of God calls on all churches, governments, and people of good will, to act and put an end to this tragedy. All believers are responsible. 

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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