Finding the Church’s Prophetic Voice: Revd Naim Ateek

This past year, during the pandemic, Rev. Naim Ateek, put together a collection of his writings including lectures, sermons, largely unpublished but mostly delivered at various universities, colleges, and churches over the years.

A number of them have been organized by topics and published in booklet forms. This is a work in progress. So far, six booklets have been published. They are now available through Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. The contents and titles of these booklets are as follows:

“Religion and Politics in Israel/Palestine and the Question of Toleration/Intolerance”
“Palestinian Liberation Theology” Remembering Father Michael Prior
“Cry Out, Do Not Hold Back! Finding the Church’s Prophetic Voice for Palestine”
“Jerusalem” The Significance of Jerusalem A Palestinian Theology of Jerusalem.
“Sabeel Christmas Messages 2014-2020”

I was invited to review one of the booklets, “Cry Out, Do Not Hold Back! Finding the Church’s Prophetic Voice for Palestine”

“The distilled wisdom of over 50 years ministry, this is an immensely significant and urgent call (as well as loving rebuke) for the Western church to find its prophetic voice and speak truth to power over Palestine. For far too long church leaders has been silent about injustice in Palestine and have compromised their prophetic witness. 

In clear and simple terms Naim explains how Christians have “quenched the Spirit and choked the prophetic”, caring more about personal interests than fidelity to God’s truth.

Through simple biblical expositions, Naim shatters the illusion that somehow Jesus was apolitical. Instead, we are offered a clear, Christ-centred, biblical theology of justice and peace. 

The inclusion of the testimonies of contemporary Palestinian Christian leaders who, as faithful “martyrs”, have shown courage in challenging Israeli apartheid, is also deeply inspiring.

This book is particularly valuable in outlining the practical steps we need to take to recover our prophetic voice and so fulfil our God-given mandate.”

You can participate in the international launch of these booklets on Friday 3rd December via Zoom

We pray, Lord, to bless Pastor Dr. Naim Ateek, who has worked over the years to raise awareness about the reality of Palestinians, issues of liberation, and strive for fair peace and participate in international gatherings and haunted events. God bless this version and the different versions that narrate the reality of what is going on in the country.

Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (ICAHD) Webinar on Christian Zionism

ICAHD USA hosted a webinar on 7 November entitled ‘Christian Zionism: What Is It, How Does it Impact on the Palestinian Question, and How Do We Combat It?’ The three guest speakers were Jonathan Kuttab – Executive Director, Friends of Sabeel, North America, Dr Don Wagner – Author, co-author of five books dealing with Christian Zionism and Christian history in Palestine / Israel, and myself. Here is a recording of my presentation:

“The very being of the church, the integrity of the Christian faith, and the credibility of the Gospel is at stake.  We declare that support for the oppression of the Palestinian people, whether passive or active, through silence, word or deed, is a sin.  We assert that Christian support for Zionism as a theology and an ideology that legitimize the right of one people to deny the human rights of another is incompatible with the Christian faith and a grave misuse of the Bible.” (2020 Kairos Palestine: ‘Cry of Hope’)

Watch a recording of the full webinar here

A Biblical Critique of Apartheid

What does the Bible say about apartheid? How has the Bible been used to justify supremacism, segregation and racial purity? How is apartheid easily refuted from the Bible? This presentation will provide some answers. The introduction gives a brief historical overview showing the lineage of European supremacism, slavery, segregation and apartheid. It also examines why apartheid has been designated a crime against humanity, and shows the similarities between the South African and Israeli variants.

Download a copy of this presentation here

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Kumi Now: Christian Zionism

Kumi Now are working to connect activists around the world with the organizations working on the ground in Palestine and Israel to bring a just and lasting peace based on international law and nonviolence.

All Palestinians regardless of their faith face similar challenges. However, Palestinian Christians face a specific kind of challenge from Christian Zionists who manipulate scripture to support the oppression of Palestinians. On August 22, 2006 Palestinian Christian churches addressed the threat of Christian Zionism with the “Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism.” We mark the anniversary of the declaration by learning about Christian Zionism and learning what you can do so that together we can rise up.

Continue reading about Kumi Action and resources for download Kumi Now

Find additional resources here

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A Christian Response to Israeli Apartheid

Although we would love to meet in person, this year we have made the decision to keep our conference online in the hope that as many of you as possible are able to join us.

This year our theme is ‘A Christian Response to Israeli Apartheid’. We will be hearing from two excellent speakers about apartheid in both the Palestinian territories, and inside Israel itself.

Alongside this we will be joining together in worship, reflection, and action, and we will be hosting a number of workshops in breakout rooms, looking at how we can work within our Churches and communities to combat apartheid.

We will also be hearing direct from our partners Sabeel Jerusalem and Kairos Palestine about their work on the ground in Palestine/Israel, and the highs and lows of the last year!

We are very much looking forward to this event, and hope that you can join us.

Sabeel-Kairos UK

The Bethlehem Institute of Peace and Justice

The Bethlehem Institute of Peace and Justice at Bethlehem Bible College invites you to enroll in its fully online course beginning this September 2021

Introduction to Peacemaking and Justice in the Palestinian Context 1

This asynchronous, guided, online course, taught by Palestinian and international professors, explores fundamental concepts in peacebuilding and justice, the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and present realities on the ground; Biblical theologies of peace; reflections on peace and justice from the perspective of Judaism and Islam; non-violence and peacemaking; the practice of sulha in Arab societies and how it relates to other models of reconciliation, and more.

The course may be taken for credit or audit by either students already enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs, or by non-traditional students. The course is offered internationally and to people of all faiths.

All the course material, including required reading, is located on the educational platform, Its Learning, which the Institute uses. The tuition is inclusive of reading assignments.

The tuition fee is determined on a per-credit basis. The rate for the academic year 2021/2022 is $495 ($165 per credit hour) for internationals and $240 ($80 per credit hour) for local and auditing students. The course is for 3 credits.

This course especially serves:

Those who are passionate about affirming the relevance and reasonableness of peacemaking in the world.

Those who desire to learn more about the Palestinian Christian experience – its joys and sorrows – in peacemaking.

Those who want to explore the holistic discipline of peacemaking and justice studies.

Find out more at www.bipj.org or direct your inquiries to Info@bipj.org.

Jewish Network for Palestine: Convivencia

The Jewish Network for Palestine recently invited me to give a short presentation on ‘Convivencia’ or coexistence at their 2021 annual meeting.

Convivencia simply means ‘coexistence’. It is an academic hypothesis, first proposed by the Spanish philologist Américo Castro, regarding the coexistence of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities during the period of Spanish history from the Muslim Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the early eighth century until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.

By extension the term can describe the contemporary religious and cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity as a way to challenge the various forms of ethno-supremacism and exclusive religious nationalisms emerging in different parts of the world. 

Christ at the Checkpoint Young Adults

Statement by young Palestinian Christians

This statement was written with urgency by Palestinian Christian young adults from all across the land, expressing repentance and hope regarding the ongoing injustices. If you identify with this statement, it is yours to hold as well. We urge all to read and reflect seriously on its call.

“Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5 : 23-24)

Statement of Repentance and Hope

We Palestinian Christian young adults from the 48 territories, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza; cannot remain silent with what is happening in our community. Based on our understanding of our spiritual, ethical and national responsibilities, we declare the following:

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Prayer Vigil for Gaza

A vigil for Gaza was held in Reading town centre on Saturday 5th June organised by Reading Muslim Council with contributions from the Jewish Network for Palestine, Cordoba Foundation, Green Party, Slough PSC and Jewish Voices for Labour. Organisers estimate that around 250 people participated in the vigil while many people out shopping stopped to listen to the presentations. At the end of the vigil balloons were released in memory of each child killed in Gaza. I gave a short presentation (below) and also offered prayers for the bereaved and injured.

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Dear Archbishop Justin: Why are you silent on the suffering in Gaza?

The Board of Trustees of Sabeel-Kairos UK have written an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury questioning his silence over the last 11 days on the disproportionate violence against civilians in Palestine, and the lack of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people.  You can read our letter, and share in this action here. 

In the last 11 days we have witnessed once again an unprecedented level of violence towards civilians in the Holy Land. 

Whilst people have been suffering in Israel and in the West Bank too, the lives of those in Gaza have once again been disproportionally affected. 219 Palestinians, including 63 children and 35 women (3 of whom were pregnant) have lost their lives. Tens of thousands have been displaced and made homeless once more. Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed, including 6 hospitals and 44 schools. This is unacceptable.

We welcome the news of the ceasefire, which we hope will hold and protect all civilians from more violence. But unless the root causes are addressed – namely Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, its siege of Gaza, and its discrimination against non-Jews inside the State of Israel, we will be back here, lamenting the next war very soon.

During the last 11 days, Churches around the world have been issuing statements of support and solidarity, and calling for the structural injustices in the Holy Land to be addressed. In the UK, the Methodists, United Reform Church, Catholics, Quakers and others have all spoken out, yet the Church of England has remained silent. In the letter below, written by the trustees of Sabeel-Kairos UK, we challenge that silence, and we ask those of you that are members of the Church of England to do so with us.

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