PIEF

The PIEF is an international, inter-church advocacy initiative for peace in Israel and Palestine

    2011

    World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel

    29 May - 4 June 2011

    "Pray, educate, and advocate for justice in Palestine"

    An initiative of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches

    Events held during World Week 2011

    Updated on 1 August 2011, highlighting events in 21 countries

    Australia

    On 1 June, a candlelight vigil for peace in Palestine and Israel was held at St. Paul's Cathedral forecourt in Melbourne. This was a silent vigil, interspersed with the reading of a prayer and prose poem. The event was sponsored by the Uniting Church in Australia's Congregation of Mark the Evangelist, North Melbourne; Pax Christi; the Victorian Council of Churches and Act for Peace.

    Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, promoted World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel on its website, and encouraged its member churches to use resources prepared for the week.

    Austria

    During World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, worship services using liturgy created for the week were held in the cities of Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz, Bad Ischl, and Graz.

    Johannes Zang, a German writer and journalist, gave lectures in Ried and Linz on the situation facing Palestinian Christians today.

    An information stand was set up in Linz, and material about the crisis in Palestine was distributed to the community. In addition, worship liturgies and other documents prepared for the week were translated into German and widely distributed.

    Belgium

    On 30 May, an evening program about the current situation in Palestine and Israel was held at the Protestant William Tyndale-Silo Church in Vilvoorde.

    Brazil

    On 18 June, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Methodist Church in the Niteroi neighborhood of Canoas gathered together for a late night service of worship and prayer for peace in Palestine and Israel.

    Canada

    Presentations on the recent Sabeel Conference in Bethlehem were given by local participants, on 15 May at the Anglican Church in Blandford, NS, and on 22 May at St. Andrew's United Church in Halifax.

    Delegates to the United Church of Canada - Saskatchewan Conference annual meeting during 27-29 Mayprayed for peace and sent a message of solidarity to all those working for peace with justice in Palestine Israel.

    On 27 May, a former Ecumenical Accompanier discussed her witness for peace in Palestine as a member of EAPPI at the UCC Maritime Conference annual general meeting in Sackville, NB.

    On 28 May, delegates of the UCC Maritime Conference annual general meeting, Sackville, NB, held aPrayer Witness for Peace, as they prayed with Christians in Jerusalem at the start of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.

    KAIROS Canada prepared a bulletin insert in English and French that was distributed to member churches for use during worship on Sunday 29 May.

    On 29 May, an Ecumenical Accompanier about to depart for Palestine preached in her United Church congregation and gave a PowerPoint presentation on the theme, "It's Time for Palestine."

    The United Church of Canada coordinated a national speaking tour presenting UCC Global Mission personnel who formerly served in Palestine, in conjunction with World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.

    An ecumenical worship service was held to mark the end of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel on 4 June.

    France

    Sabeel's Call for the Peace of Jerusalem was translated into French, and spread across many Roman Catholic and Evangelical organizations. This document was used by many local congregations for Sunday 29 May worship services. The document was also sent to many religious, political, and ciivic leaders across the country.

    During World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, joint ecumenical actions were held between Friends of Sabeel France, Chrétiens de la Méditerranée, Pax Christi France, L'Oeuvre d'Orient, CCFD, Cimade, Secours catholique, Caritas France, Justice and Peace, ACAT, Pastorale des Migrants, and Fraternité franciscaine séculière.

    In Normandy, the following events were held:

    • On 28 May, in Ste Mère l'Eglise (Manche), an International March for Peace.

    • On 31 May, in Caen (Calvados), at Centre d'Etudes théologiques, a talk by Father Marc Stenger, President of Pax Christi France, on the theme “Why Praying for Peace ?”

    • On 5 June, in Bayeux (Calvados), talk by Father Read Abdusssaliah, from Taybeh (West Bank).

    Also during the week, Father Jamal Khader, Latin Patriarcate of Jerusalem, and Dean of Faculty of Arts, Bethlehem University, spoke on the theme “Being a Christian in Palestine Today: A Vocation for Peace, Justice, and Dialogue.” Presentations were made in Paris, Caen, Lisieux, Vannes, and Rennes.

    Germany

    Pax Christi Germany held a conference on the theme "Time to Adapt: Consequences of the Kairos Palestine Document" at the Evangelical Academy Bad Boll during 20-22 May.

    India

    On 23 May, the YWCA of India hosted a panel discussion on the need to support a just peace in Palestine; this discussion was videotaped, and was shown at events in Palestine during World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel. The YWCA of India and the National Council of Churches in India are co-convenors of the India Solidarity Ecumenical Network-Kairos Palestine.

    The India Solidarity Ecumenical Network-Kairos Palestine, in cooperation with the National Council of Churches in India, organized worship services during the week in Chennai and Nagpur, and an additional service later in June in Bangalore.

    On 2-3 June, a conference was held on issues related to land and dispossession in both India and Palestine.

    In addition, a large public rally in Delhi was planned during the week.

    Jordan

    The Sacred Heart English-language Roman Catholic parish of Amman included the Jerusalem Prayer during its worship services over the weekend of 29 May.

    Kenya

    Congregations across Nairobi prayed for peace for all in Palestine and Israel on Sunday 29 May.

    Netherlands

    On 28 May, the opening ceremony for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel was held in the Geertekerk in Utrecht. Yoni Yahav and Mohammad Amara of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian peace organization, shared their stories and ideas. The program also included music, poetry, and a small bazaar displaying information about other peace organizations.

    On May 29, Yoni Yahav and Mohammad Amara spoke at the Protestant Church "De Bron" in Dordrecht.

    On 30 May, Yoni Yahav and Mohammad Amara spoke at the Lokhorstkerk (Mennonite Church) in Leiden, and Musicians Without Borders played music from Israel/Palestine.

    On 30 May, a vigil with music and stories from Palestine and Israel was held at the Protestant Church "Het Kleine Kerkje" in Hengelo.

    On 31 May, "Time to Turn" hosted an evening of stories, conversation, and music with Yoni Yahav and Mohammad Amara.

    On 1 June, the book "Bid Jeruzalem vrede toe" ("Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem") was officially launched at the Protestants Landelijk Dienstencentrum in Utrecht.

    On 1 June, students from Utrecht University had conversation with Yoni Yahav and Mohammad Amara.

    On 9 June, "De stem van mensen" ("The Voice of the People"). A presentation on Israel/Palestine and the work of The Parents' Circle, an organization of Palestinian and Israeli parents who have lost children in the conflict, was held at De Klepel, Twello.

    Norway

    Events held in Norway during World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 2011 included the following:

    • 28 May:  Women in Black held a demonstration in front of the Norwegian parliament.
    • 29 May:  World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel ecumenical worship services were held in Oslo and other cities.
    • 30 May:  In Oslo, two seminars focusing on Jerusalem were held on this day.  An afternoon seminar was held on the theme “The right to pray,” and an evening seminar was organized on the theme “The right to live.”
    • 31 May:  In Tromsø, a seminar on Jerusalem was led by Arik Aschermann, Director of Rabbis for Human Rights.  In Trondheim, Nora Carmi of the Kairos Palestine group was the guest speaker at a seminar on Jerusalem.

    In addition, advocacy meetings with members of Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and religious leaders were held during the week.

    Palestine

    On 14 May, organizers of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel created a short video film about Palestinians' denial of entry into Jerusalem. This event was followed by an observance of the anniversary of the al-Nakbe.

    On 26 May at the Friends Meetinghouse in Ramallah, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) launched its latest book, "Living with Settlers," authored by former EA Thomas Mandal. A presentation on the human impact of settlements in the West Bank was given by Dr. Jad Isaac, director of the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem.

    On 4 June in Bethlehem, churches and community groups hosted an ecumenical worship service at the Benedictine Church, near the Bethlehem-Jerusalem checkpoint. Following the service, members of the congregation processed by candlelight along the Jerusalem-Bethlehem checkpoint, then gathered at the separation wall for presentations related to denial of access to Jerusalem. During this time, films submitted in support of Palestine from around the world were shown on the separation wall.

    On 8 June, The Coalition of Christian Organizations in Jerusalem organized an ecumenical worship service in Jerusalem in remembrance of refugees and those who continue to suffer under 44 years of the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. Sabeelalso issued a statement on the importance of peace in the city of Jerusalem, and shared prayers for the peace of Jerusalem written by young persons in Palestine.

    Philippines

    On 1 June, a large ecumenical worship service in support of a just peace for Palestine was held in Manila under the theme "Lupa, Kasarinlan, at Kapayapan (Land, Independence, and Peace)". It was an interfaith event attended by both Christians and Muslims and followed by a candle lighting in the street outside the building of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) where the service was held. The activity was initiated by Peace for Life, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum and the NCCP.

    Peace for Life organized a public forum on the question of Palestine during the week.

    South Africa

    In preparation for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, South African church leaders hosted a "Southern Africa - Palestine Kairos Encounter" during 3-10 April, during which the Kairos Palestine Document was launched and common theological perspectives were shared.

    congregation in Soweto held a special worship service in support of a just peace for all in Palestine and Israel on 29 May.

    The South African Council of Churches and the Kairos Southern Africa group organized a workshop for church leaders on the Kairos Palestine Document, during 31 May-1 June.

    South Korea

    On 19 May, the peace organization Free Palestine held a Peace Seminar and Prayer Meeting.

    Sweden

    The Mission Covenant Church of Sweden encouraged its member congregations to pray for peace for all in Palestine and Israel on Sunday 29 May. Also, at the denomination's General Assembly during 2-5 June, delegates participated in a midday meditation service, giving attention to World Week for Peace and also to the Kairos Palestine Document.

    Switzerland

    Dusa Zgonec gave a presentation on her recent trip to Palestine to train therapists working with those suffering from the occupation, on 5 June at the Parish House of Saint-Gervais Church, Geneva.

    During World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, former Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) from Switzerland held a roundtable theological discussion on the Kairos Palestine Document with people from local churches, including those who have been critical of the churches' support of the Palestinian cause.

    In additional, former and current EAs remain involved in making preparations for a larger publicconference on the Kairos Palestine Document, to be held on 29 October.

    Ukraine

    Members of the United Methodist Church in Ukraine prayed for peace in Palestine Israel during worship on 29 May.

    United Kingdom

    On 14 May, Pax Christi and other peace organizations held an "End the Siege of Gaza Protest"rally at Downing Street, London. A number of parliamentarians and community leaders addressed the event.

    Christian Aid Scotland, with the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Palestinian Forum, hosted an evening of conversation with Daoud Nassar, founder and director of Tent of Nations - People Building Bridges, a project that seeks to bring people of various cultures, backgrounds, and religions together to build bridges of understanding, reconciliation, and peace.  The event took place on 17 May at Wellington Church, Glasgow.

    On 25 May, Earlsdon Methodist Church, Coventry, hosted a prayer meeting followed by a presentation by former Ecumenical Accompanier Ann Farr on her recent three-month stay in Palestine as a human rights observer.

    On 27 May, St. Benedict's Roman Catholic School in Alcester marked World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel in a morning service in which each class offered prayers for peace for all in Palestine and Israel, and an afternoon service with prayers, lighting of candles, and a photo presentation on life in Palestine and those who work for peace in the land.

    The Parish of the Immaculate Conception, Southampton, marked World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel in worship on 29 May by distributing information about the Kairos Palestine Document, praying for peace for all in Palestine and Israel, displaying the Jerusalem Prayer and It's Time for Palestine resources, and sharing photos from a recent pilgrimage to the region.

    Several ecumenical partners hosted a vigil on 2 June in support of all those working for a just peace, at Friends House, Euston, London. A focal point of the gathering was an eight-meter replica of the separation barrier which cuts into Palestinian land, separating families and preventing movement by Palestinians into Israel.

    Also on 2 June, Friends of Sabeel UK organized a vigil outside the gates of an Israeli-owned Shenstone factory that makes engines for unmanned aerial vehicles. Following the vigil, a worship service was held at Shenstone Methodist Church.

    On 4 June, Denton Methodist Church in Manchester hosted a conference on "Journeys in Faith: To Palestine and Beyond." The program included an address entitled "Dying in the Promised Land: Christian Palestinians Today," by Daniel Burton, an Anglican priest serving in Manchester who spent two years working in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.  Also, Dr. Abdul Aziz, a teacher and founding trustee in the Crescent Community Educational Trust in Manchester, gave a presentation on "The Hajj: Equality Before God." A Palestinian-themed meal was served, Palestinian foods and crafts were offered for sale, and an exhibition presented the theme "Discover Islam."

    The people of Palestine and Israel were held in the light at Coventry Quaker Meeting on 5 June, in the hope that a just peace will be a reality in the near future.

    On 6 June, Lichfield Methodist Church hosted an "Update on Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank" with Charlotte Marshall and Sally Bossingham of Christian Aid. Palestinian crafts, olive oil, and refreshments were available.

    United States

    On 31 May, the Israel/Palestine Task Force of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, United Methodist Church, presented a conversation with Dr. Dalit Baum on "US Corporate Involvement in the Israel/Palestine Conflict," at Central UMC in Stockton, California. The same event was held at Centennial UMC in Sacramento on 3 June, at Buena Vista UMC in Alameda on 4 June, and at other UMC congregations in California during the week.

    Worldwide

    The peace organization Friends of Freedom and Justice-Bilin organized demonstrations in front of Israeli embassies and consulates worldwide during May.