Friday, 17 August 2018

Ecumenical Eyes on Palestine

The World Council of Churches’ annual World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel is scheduled for 16–23 September this year.

Member churches, faith communities and civil society organisations are invited to join in prayer and activities to support a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel.

This year’s theme “Youth and Children: Raising Hope and Making Change” focuses on the obstacles Palestinian children face receiving an education and the fact that more than 500 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested and held in military detention under Israeli military law.

The Uniting Church in Australia is a member of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN) a group of Australian Christians seeking lasting peace for the people of Palestine and Israel.

Congregations and faith communities wishing to learn firsthand about how churches are responding are encouraged to contact PIEN to arrange guest speakers.  

A number of Australian Christians have become Ecumenical Accompaniers through the WCC’s EAPPI program, coordinated in Australia by Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

This week Assembly staff heard former Ecumenical Accompanier Aletia Dundas talk about her three-month experience in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank.

Aletia’s job was to stand alongside Palestinian people going about their lives. The stories she shared brought home the lived reality for people living in that region of the world. Children that she accompanied had to pass through a military checkpoint every day on the walk to and from school.

As well as the stories of injustice and hardship, Aletia shared examples of many inspiring and committed people and organisations, Jews, Muslims and Christians, actively working to bring peace and justice.

The Uniting Church’s 14th Assembly meeting established an awareness-raising campaign about the plight of Palestinian Christians and the Palestinian people at https://assembly.uca.org.au/palestine  

People looking for ways to support people in Palestine are also encouraged to visit the Palestine Fair Trade Australia website.