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Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Churches and Christians in the Holy Land Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre.

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Presentation on theme: "Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Churches and Christians in the Holy Land Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Churches and Christians in the Holy Land Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre

2 The Holy Land Jesus and His Disciples Christ’s followers / Romans Christian Romans 323-614AD Persians 614-628 Byzantines 628-637 Arab/Muslims 637-1092 Arabs/Crusaders 1099-1239 Arabs 1239-1514 Ottomans 1517-1917 British Mandate 1917-1947 UN Partition Plan 1947 Israel 1948 (al Naqba) Occupation 1967 PA in West Bank and Gaza Seperation

3 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Churches of the Holy Land Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Armenian Patriarchate Coptic Orthodox Church Syrian Orthodox Church Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate Syrian Catholic Church Maronite Archdiocese of Haifa and the Holy Land Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the M.E. Custody of the Holy Land ( Franciscan Order) The local Churches in the Holy Land belong to 4 Church families: Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, & Protestant.

4 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Christians Today – Demography In Israel Areas occupied 1948 150,000 Christians Among 7 million Just over 2% 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

5 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre The Dwindling Christians …  Of the 750,000 Palestinian refugees who were driven out of their homes in 1948, 50,000 were Christians  Since then, emigration amongst Christians increased substantially Percentages of Palestinian Christians continued to decrease due to:  Occupation and oppression practiced against the Palestinian population by the Israeli Occupation  Deterioration of the economic situation especially after the closure and separation policy  Unemployment and difficulty in attaining jobs  High cost of living in Education and Health  Limited and unaffordable housing availability in Jerusalem

6 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre The youth is the most affected.

7 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Challenges Need for political settlement : Freedom facing oppression and Economy facing separation and closures drive Palestinian Christians out of this country. Effective cooperation; networking is encouraged on all levels within the Churches. Uniting the voices against the occupation and Israeli policies and need for law and order within Palestinian territories.. The Need to support the three vital sectors.  Health: General and specialized support for the Health service institutions where services are given to all Palestinians. indicators shows that West Bankers spend 25% of their income on health care and 75% of them have no adequate health insurance.  Housing: A real challenge East Jerusalem. Very limited options and resources to stay in the city where Israeli policies limit construction  Education: In pursuit for higher education we risk loosing Palestinian Christians then turning into emigrants. On lower education levels support for tuition fees and Schools infrastructure will ensure better education and keeping Palestinians Christians within the Christians schools.

8 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Other HOT issues Residency rights of the Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem are threatened today through the Israeli policies in confiscating ID cards from those who have residency right somewhere else besides the house demolition orders against at least 20 families. Freedom of movement of Clergy and the faithful between the West bank and East Jerusalem, Reentry and entry issues limit the work of the Church and are against UN recognized human rights Formalizing property and land registration in the Bethlehem area will lower the level of friction that frequently arouse when crimes in this level happen

9 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Alarming Jerusalem Scenario?

10 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre How to cope? Local Churches in Diakonia The Local Churches ( on Social services)  Managing more than 65 schools with 23679 students  Running more than 5 hospitals and tens of clinics  Constructed over 1000 housing units in the past 10 years  Accommodating up-to 30% of the Christian working force (5% in Palestinian Educational system)  Supervising tens of organizations: 1. Charitable organizations 2. Social service organizations 3. Clubs and youth movements But… The need is still great and the challenges are mounting

11 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Ecumenical Local Churches role (on Advocacy)  Unified positions since 1989 1. On Jerusalem 1994, 2006 2. On movement restrictions 3. On the separation Wall and closures 4. On the security of Israelis and Palestinians  Press releases  Joint studies : ( e.g. Christian schools / Health services, Residency rights and needs assessments)  Participation and mediation in the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land

12 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre With WCC and Mecc LOCALY BASED  Ecumenical Accompaniment program for the Palestinians and Israelis (EAPPI)  Inter-Church Center ( JIC) based on information and cooperation in association with MECC INTERNATIONAL  Established the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF)  International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel (ICAPPI – now WWPPI)

13 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre JIC ’ s mandate Provide timely and regular information, analysis and reports to the ecumenical community; Liaise with the local Churches and with MECC and WCC. Facilitate intensive exposure tours and seminars for international, high-level government, church and media visitors assuring hosting and contact with the local churches and communities. Strengthen local church capacity for diaconal work in association with WCC Middle East desk and MECC. Strengthen local ecumenical and interfaith relations. Host EAPPI as a much-needed local-global accompaniment program.

14 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre EAPPI Objectives Participate in the daily life and work of Palestinian and Israeli civil society, Churches and Christian communities. Be visibly present in vulnerable communities, locations or events, e.g. near Israeli settlements and the wall/fence, schools and homes, fields & orchards. Actively listen to local people's experiences and give voice to peoples' daily suffering Monitor the conduct of Israeli soldiers Engage in non-violent ways with perpetrators of human rights abuses. Produce testimonies and analysis. Report on violations of human rights. Engage with the media locally, nationally and internationally. Be part of international advocacy and networking activities that highlight the human rights situation in Palestine.

15 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre World Week of Prayer in P/I During one week churches in different countries send a clear signal to policy-makers, interested publics and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples. The action week organizers are asking all participants to : Pray with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem Educate about actions that make for peace and about facts on the ground that do not Advocate with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice Public Action - in order to stress the depth of church concern.

16 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Amman call : Inter-Church commitment (PIEF) Peace building will include the following: 1. Furthering theological and biblical perspectives and Christian education resources around those issues central to the conflict. 2. Developing strategies that will support the processes of justice and reconciliation, including inter-religious dialogue and cooperation. 3. Strengthening the churches' responses to the occupation. 4. Recognizing, encouraging and cooperating with all efforts of Israeli and Palestinian civil society that are in accord with the vision and goals of the PIEF. Peace making will include the following: 1. Defining and promoting measures, including economic ones, that could help end the occupation and enhance sustainable growth and development. 2. Strengthening local churches and church related organizations not only to survive, and to be witnesses of hope. 3. Advocacy strategy in order to mobilize all of Church constituencies and influence change.

17 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Middle East Council of Churches General Secretariat:  International Ecumenical Church Relations  Justice, Peace and Human Rights Programme  Christian- Muslim Dialogue Units:  Unit on Faith and Unity  Unit on Education & Renewal  Unit on Life & Service :  The Iraq Relief and Rehabilitation Program (IRRP)  Inter-Church Network for Development and Relief (ICNDR) Communication Department

18 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Christian Related Organizations-CROs  The CROs network in Jerusalem was formed in 2002 aiming to unify the Palestinian Christian voice. Due to movement restrictions it was only a Jerusalem CROs network at the beginning – with 12 member organizations  In 2004, the Network of Christian Organizations in Bethlehem (NCOB) was formed and now embraces more than 26 member organizations  The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP)

19 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Christian Organizations … Accomplishments of CROs networks:  Producing the VOX newsletter (Jerusalem)  Issuing Position and Action statements  Organizing Church services for special occasions  Developing contacts with global ecumenical and social movements and Churches  Participating in events and meetings of the MECC, WCC and World Social forums  And…. Tens of organizations initiatives and programs targeted at embracing the Christian Youth and advocating Just Peace.

20 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Coalition objectives ( NCCOP)  To work with Churches and civil society organizations to support the humanitarian mission based on Christian values.  To create a unified vision and effort to preserve and sustain the Palestinian Christian role and presence in the Holy Land.  To work towards a Just Peace.  To contribute towards building a democratic society that respects pluralism and human rights  To for a unified Advocacy forum to enhance the involvement of Palestinian Christian organizations and global ecumenical bodies in seeking to end the illegal Israeli Military Occupation of Palestine and restoring the legitimate rights of Palestinians to produce a Just Peace”

21 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Strategies Unity: NCCOP and Heads of Churches Advocacy: United voice and International Church support ( KAIROS PALESTINE) Social opportunities; Education, housing, and health sectors support Economic opportunities: partnerships and Pilgrimages.

22 Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre Thank You! Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre

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