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Advent in the Middle East Disciples Regional Ministers visit to Lebanon, Syria, and Israel/Palestine Nov. 30-Dec. 10, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Advent in the Middle East Disciples Regional Ministers visit to Lebanon, Syria, and Israel/Palestine Nov. 30-Dec. 10, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advent in the Middle East Disciples Regional Ministers visit to Lebanon, Syria, and Israel/Palestine Nov. 30-Dec. 10, 2010

2 NEST President Dr. Mary Mikhael Regional Ministers at NEST Established in students

3 Middle East Council of Churches Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees DSPR works in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut, where large numbers of refugees were massacred during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

4 Middle East Council of Churches Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees Works in five areas: West Bank Gaza Lebanon Jordan Nazareth

5 Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue: An interfaith and regional grass roots organization FDCD programs focus on: Conflict Resolution Youth Empowerment Journalism

6 Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue: An interfaith and regional grass roots organization Iraqi refugee program: Iraqis receive relief packages at the Chaldean Church in Beirut.

7 Downtown Beiruts mix of Muslim and Christian heritage illustrate the countrys unique interfaith context. Regional Ministers heard from a Protestant and Catholic, a Druze, and a Shiite during a meeting with Arab Group members, pictured above.

8 Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East Established over 150 years ago, the Union comprises congregations in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Egypt, and Australia

9 In Syria, we were hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. The Greek Orthodox Community is the largest Christian church in Syria. Its Patriarch is H.B. Ignatius Hazim (right, center). Mr. Samer Laham is its Ecumenical Officer (below, center).

10 Armenians in Syria are numerous, partly due to mass migration in the early 20 th century. Bishop Armash Nalbandian welcomed our group to the Bishopric of Damascus.

11 The Greek Melchite Bishop, HB Gregorius Laham, spoke with us on many subjects, emphasizing the ecumenical imperative. The Bishopric is in classic Old Damascus style, with a courtyard and fountain.

12 The Syrian Orthodox community in Syria is significant in size and presence. It retains ancient Aramaic/Syriac as its language of liturgy. The Patriarch, HB Zakka I Iwas, welcomed the Regional Ministers to the Patriarchate, which was readying itself for Christmas celebrations!

13 The Street Called Straight (right), Ananias home (below, right), and the Hamadiyya Bazaar in the Old City of Damascus.

14 The Iraqi Christian Youth Committee met in Damascus and told of some of the issues Iraqi youth face on a daily basis.

15 Jews, Christians, and Muslims consider the places of Israel/Palestineand especially of Jerusalemof sacred significance.

16 During an alternative tour of Jerusalem, our group got a better sense of Jerusalem settlements, home demolitions, and the separation barriers impact on Palestinian lives.

17 Complexities and various perspectives of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict were explained by Rabbi Ed Rettig (American Jewish Committee Jerusalem Office head, upper left), Dr. Bernard Sabella (Executive Director, MECC- DSPR, upper right, center), and by Uri Zaki and Risa Zoll (BTselemThe Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, left). Main issues in Israel/Palestine: Boundaries, Settlements, Refugees, Jerusalem, Demography, Security, Resources (including water)

18 Christians Today – Demography In Israel Areas occupied ,000 Christians Among 7 million Just over 2% In Palestine In Palestine Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem 50,000 Christians Among 4 million Below 2% Currently, they are between 400,000 – 500,000 scattered throughout the World Source: WCC Jerusalem Interchurch Center

19 The Separation Barrier

20 Bethlehem Christians tell us about their hopes and dreams, and their frustrations.

21 The YWCA in Palestine works with women and children in the Jalazoun Refugee Camp, north of Ramallah. Jean Zaru (above) is the clerk of the Friends Meeting in Ramallah.

22 Hearing the stories of Global Ministries partners in Jerusalem: Rawdat el-Zuhur primary school, our Child Sponsorship partner, and the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation

23 The manger grotto in the Church of the Nativity (left) and the spire of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem (right).

24 Future generations hopes and dreamsfor Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the Middle East depend on peace with justice. As we approach Lent, pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the whole region. Trip blog (with pictures):


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