Friday, January 25, 2019

Palestine and Israel - Veneable Dr Pamela Nesbit's visit

I am enjoying seeing Pamela Nesbit's photos on Facebook with her visit to Israel and Palestine as part of a peacemaking pilgrimage with the Lombard Mennonite Peace Fellowship. The Venerable Dr Pamela Nesbit is the Archdeacon Emerita of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and Vice-President of DOTAC.

I love this photo of Pamela celebrating communion wtih Fr Michael Fincher at the Ecce Home church in Jerusalem.

She writes about her experience in Jerusalem: "This is such a small city, with many people coming home here to be close to their God. Across the differences in face and feature and clothing and head covering you see people with so many expressions of faith and languages in which to express them. The one thing we all have in common is passion. All this religious and ethnic passion squeezed into one sacred place feels like a teapot on the boil. Here, more than any place I have ever been, it seems clear to me that humankind has a choice. We can either embrace our tribal differences and hate and destroy one another. Or we can see and love all these differences as expressions of our essential oneness and love one another. Here in this beautiful city there is no other way. I am inexpressibly grateful for having been able see Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem".

While it is a very long time since I have been to Israel and Palestine, I am deeply connected through the EAPPI program - Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, a program of the World Council of Churches. At the end of January 2019 I will spend a few days as part of the national training team for the next group of EAPPI volunteers in Australia.

Sabeel 'Wave of Prayer' for 24th January 2019
The Great March of Return continued on Friday, the 18th of January. Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) reported that 45 children have been killed in Gaza since March 30th.
Lord, we pray for a breakthrough in the peace talks and an end to this pitiless siege of Gaza. Comfort those families who have lost children and cast your protecting grace over all children in Gaza. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Riyad al-Malki, the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Palestinian Authority, stated that this year Palestine will assume the presidency of the Group of 77 and China, to negotiate development issues in the U.N. Palestine has been a non-member observer state in the U.N. since 2012. It intends to re-submit its application for full membership of the U.N. at the end of this year’s mandate.
Dear Lord, we pray for strength and steadfastness for those working in organisations like the U.N., who devote their lives to challenging injustice and oppression. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Students have been returning to school after their mid-year vacation. Many pupils in the occupied territories face obstacles to their access to education. Some students experience abuse from Israeli settlers on their way to and from school, others face delays at checkpoints, while others are subjected to frequent searches on their school bus journeys.
Lord, we pray for the students as they go back to school, that they would continue to value their education. For those who face further difficulties, may they find the determination to complete their studies and use their qualifications to help their local communities. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
Human Rights Watch criticised the Palestinian Authority for restricting online freedom of speech and arresting dissidents.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that when you came into the world, we received your grace and truth, (John 1:17). Help us to stand firm and challenge the suppression of truth by those in authority. Lord in your mercy…hear our prayers.
On Sunday, the 13th of January, a group of Israeli settlers destroyed nearly a thousand tree saplings in Burqa, west of the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. The saplings were being cultivated to transform the land around Burqa into a nature reserve.
Lord, we pray that these frequent acts of vandalism by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank would cease. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
This week Kumi Now focuses on the work of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, (PASSIA) and Israel’s violations of international law in East Jerusalem. The Kumi Now action asks you to write to your local politicians, challenging them to hold the Israeli government to account for the human rights abuses it perpetrates on Palestinians.
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, you will establish your kingdom with justice and righteousness, (Isaiah 9:6-7). Help us to pray in faith for those who seek to address injustice and to speak truth to those who govern us. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.
We join with the World Council of Churches in their prayers for the countries of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Lord, in your mercy…hear our prayers.

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