A recent study by the Pew Research Center reveals that more Christians in the Middle East face religious persecution than ever before. A sharp decline in the Christian population in the area has been the consequence. The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon commenting on the situation said that “What we (Christians) are living is anarchy, war, death, and the plight of three million refugees."
A new initiative titled Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East is “promising and inspiring” in its attempt to train young Christians in ecumenical thought and history, according to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC.
Rev. Dr Mitri Raheb of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem delivered a sermon at the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) was launched by the WCC in 2007 to catalyze and co-ordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions, and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and to justice that serves all peoples of the region.
PIEF acts to
- challenge government support for the occupation
- challenge public support for the occupation
- challenge theological and biblical justifications for the occupation and
- maintain viable the Palestinian Christian presence in the Holy Land.