World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel
Highlighting events in 24 countries, as of 25 October 2013
The following events were organized across Australia in observance of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 2013:
- 10 September: Public reception with Dr. Sara Roy, Richard Falk, and Prof. Jeff Halper, at Australian National University Commons Function Centre in Canberra.
- 11-12 September: Two-day conference at Australian National University in Canberra on the topic of Palestinian human rights.
- 13 September: Gathering for persons engaged in advocacy for Palestine, organized by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.
- 16 September: Public lecture in Melbourne by Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
- 17 September: Public lecture by Prof. Jeff Halper.
- 19 September: Public lecture by Prof. Jeff Halper, Melbourne University, Melbourne; Public lecture by Richard Falk in Sydney.
- 2 October: Theological Reflection Day in Melbourne, featuring The Right Rev'd. Phillip Huggins, The Ven. Dr. Richard Condie, Dr. Meg Warner and Ms. Samah Sabawi, organized by the Anglican Melbourne Diocese.
- 2 November: Edward Said Memorial Lecture with Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi in Adelaide.
Additionally, on 22 September the Queenscliff Uniting Church and the Pilgrim Uniting Church (Canberra) made World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel a focus of church services. And on 23 September, the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network had an Op-Ed published in Online Opinion, a leading Australian online news forum.
Worship services for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel were held on 15 September in Leonding and Graz, and 22 September in Gallneukirchen.
Pax Christi Austria offered prayers for Palestine in its meeting of 22 September, and also continued its advocacy work in support of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and in protest of settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory.
Lectures were also organized during the week in Linz, Graz and Innsbruck.
The WCC’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) conducted its annual week of advocacy during 22-26 September in Brussels. Current and former EAs met with European parliamentarians, special representatives, and civil servants to discuss issues related to settlement activity in occupied territory, forced displacement of Palestinians, and the complicity of EU member states in Israel’s occupation policies.
A number of events were planned to mark the week in Brazil, including:
- Sunday 22 September: A Prayer for Peace at the Lutheran Church of Reitoria, Sao Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, organized by Kairos Palestina Brasil
- Tuesday 24 September: A Diocesan radio program on the Catholic Church radio station in Volta Redonda (Rio de Janeiro)
- Saturday 28 September: A Moment of Prayer for Peace at the Cathedral of Vassouras (Rio de Janeiro)
- Sunday 29 September: A Moment of Prayer in the community of Santa Rosa, Diocese of Valença (Rio de Janeiro)
- A Prayer for Peace at the Lutheran community fair in Ipanema (Rio de Janeiro)
The Faculty of Theology at the Methodist University of São Paulo held a special service on 18 September under the theme, "For a world in pain." Students and teachers united in prayer for brothers and sisters who live in embattled places like Syria and Palestine. In particular, prayers were offered for Felipe Jamaites, a student and volunteer with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI),
Additionally, from 23 to 27 September, students and professors of the Faculty of Theology of the Methodist University of São Paulo dedicated their daily morning and evening prayer services to the theme of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
A gathering of ecumenical leaders from the World Council of Churches and the Vatican meeting in Brasilia to discuss the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity spent one morning in prayer for Palestine.
The national office of the Presbyterian Church of Canada dedicated its midday worship service on 25 September to the theme, “Jerusalem – The City of Justice with Peace,” using liturgical materials written by partners worldwide especially for the week.
The United Church of Canada (UCC) General Council Executive recently approved the activation of the Palestine Israel Education and Economic Action Campaign, which shall encourage economic action against several settlement products. The campaign began in June, and certain actions of the campaign coincided with the observance of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel. Additionally, UCC members who are former Ecumenical Accompaniers to Palestine/Israel and members of a Just Peace network worked with congregations across the country to observe the week.
Ecumenical events in Toronto focusing on the visit of Naim Ateek, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, involved members and leaders of several Canadian denominations.
Representatives of the Universidad Nacional organized an ecumenical prayer service for peace in Palestine on 25 September.
The human rights organization Jeunes Palestiniens en Chemin hosted a presentation on "The Origins of the Colonization of Palestine" by Maurice Buttin on 12 September at the Martin Luther King Complex in Annemasse.
On 17 September in Montpellier, Pax Christi and CCFD sponsored a meeting with Avram Burg and Elias Sanbar on "The Challenge of Peace."
On 22 September, the Jerusalem Prayer was prayed as part of Sunday worship services in Protestant parishes in Obernai-Klingenthal and Duntzenheim.
On 24 September, an ecumenical celebration using the Palestinian liturgy for the week was held at the Jean XXIII Center in Avignon, with participation by ministers and representatives from the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and the United Protestant Church. During the service, the congregation of 80 persons was asked to send messages of advocacy to the French government and other political leaders. This ecumenical effort also resulted in a commitment of laity to gather monthly to study and discuss "A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation," by Rev. Naim Ateek, translated into French. This study group has already planned seven future meetings.
The liturgy prepared for the week by Palestinian theologians and laity was used during an ecumenical worship service in Clermont-L'Herault on 24 September, a service sponsored by Pax Christi in Bayeux on 25 September, and a Roman Catholic mass in Montreuil on 27 September.
On 28 September, the Jerusalem Prayer was prayed as part of a Taize worship service at a Protestant parish in Vendenheim.
During the week in Provence, two public gatherings were held with Violette Khoury of Sabeel - Nazareth, with a total of 150 persons in attendance.
On 28 September, a service of worship was held in Essen, where the Jerusalem Prayer was read and prayed.
An ecumenical service of worship for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel was held on 29 September at Free Church, New Delhi. The event was cosponsored by the National Council of Churches in India, JPD-Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and the YWCA of India.
The Office for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India sent a letter to Indian elected officials advocating the discontinuance of arms purchases from Israel, citing the ongoing occupation, expansion of the separation wall, and other unjust practices.
A number of events were planned for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel:
- Monday 23 September: A viewing of the film “The Village under the Forest,” with Ruth Hiller, hosted by Karibu.
- Tuesday 24 September: A Church Academy in Moss on the theme, “Jerusalem: City of Peace and Justice,” with Bishop Atle Sommerfeldt and others, held at the Arena, Moss Church and Culture Center.
- Wednesday 25 September:
- A seminar on the impact of the occupation on youth, at Universitetsgata 20, Oslo (Norges Kristelige Studentforbund), sponsored by the Student Christian Movement in Norway and YMCA-YWCA Global.
- A seminar by Ruth Hiller, followed by a viewing of the film, “The Village under the Forest,” at Congregation Hall in the Cathedral, Bodø.
- Thursday 26 September: Open House and Seminar at the Quaker Center in Oslo on the theme, “Access to worship, health care, and employment in Jerusalem,” sponsored by Community of Friends, the Quakers, and Quaker Service Norway.
- Friday 27 September:
- Morning worship at the Church House on Peace in the Middle East, Oslo.
- A closed meeting of the Middle East Forum, sponsored by the Christian Council of Norway.
- An open meeting at Dokka with Palestinian guests, in cooperation with the Student Christian Movement in Norway.
The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center held an ecumenical service for peace in the Middle East, including Palestine and Israel, on Friday 20 September at the Dominican Church.
The Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre and other partners organized an ecumenical worship service on Saturday 21 September at the Benedictine Sisters Convent, at the Separation Wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, using the worship liturgy “Jerusalem, the City of Justice and Peace” written especially for the week. The homily was delivered by Fr. Jamal Khader, Rector of the Latin Seminary in Beit Jala. Before the service, the congregation approached the church crossing a mock/artificial barrier, in accordance with the message of the Heads of Churches on access to Holy Places. The service was followed by a pilgrimage walk to the Wall Museum and a cultural performance organized by the Arab Educational Institute.
Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem hosted a prayer for peace on 21 September. During this service, the congregation sang songs from Taize, and afterwards joined for fellowship in the church hall.
On 27 September, the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement expressing concern for the construction of the Separation Barrier, east of the Green Line, in the Cremisan Valley (Beit Jala). This statement was highlighted in Jerusalem during the closing event of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
The WWPPI Palestinian working group promoted an action and advocacy campaign for its international partners, on the theme entitled, “To Pray, You Need a Military Permit!" Local churches around the world were encouraged to do the following:
- Before a Sunday worship service, erect a barrier that prevents church members from entering the sanctuary.
- While the congregation is standing at the barrier, read aloud the recent Easter message from the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem.
- During or following the service, encourage the congregation to write their church and denominational leaders, elected representatives, and other officials to condemn the restrictions placed on Palestinians entering Jerusalem, and demand a response from the Israeli government.
During the week, The Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies launched its autumn season of walks through Palestine, designed to introduce travelers to the landscape, history, and modern hospitality of Palestine and its people.
A service of prayer for peace in Palestine and Israel was held on 29 September in a community on the outskirts of Lima. During the service, a white dove was released into the sky, and all were invited to write their prayer for peace on the back of little cards in the shape of doves and to carry the prayer with them in the coming days. On the same day, prayers for peace were also offered at the Eucharistic celebration to mark First Communion at Manuel Duato, a school for children with special needs in Los Olivos.
The Philippine Interfaith Solidarity Forum on Palestine has sponsored a number of events in recent months, in preparation for the observance of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
In July, about 500 people participated in a public forum, which was devoted to raising awareness about the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
On August 27, a forum and discussion on the topic, "Palestine under Occupation: Narrative and Experience," was held at the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines. Two Palestinian youth and two former Ecumenical Accompaniers spoke to a crowd of over 100 people.
Additional events were planned for the week. An interfaith worship service, followed by a public forum, was held at the compound of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines.
The Interfaith Solidarity Forum on Palestine distributed the worship liturgy prepared for the week by Palestinian Christians, and a number of local churches used this liturgy in worship services on Sunday 22 September.
Russia and Ukraine
The United Methodist Church in Eurasia highlighted World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, and encouraged United Methodists in Russia, Ukraine, and six other countries to incorporate resources developed for the week into their worship services.
The "Tri-Continental Film Festival" featured three award-winning Palestinian films during 13-29 September. Screenings were hosted at various locations in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. The festival was sponsored in part by BDS South Africa.
Additionally, the celebrated New York-based Palestinian poet, spoken-word artist, activist and author Remi Kanazi was in South Africa during 17-25 September as a guest of the film festival. Kanazi was a speaker at several of the screenings and also did public performances, presentations and talks with BDS South Africa and partner organizations at community venues in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Soweto.
On Sunday 22 September, a Lutheran congregation in South Africa joined with the Lutheran congregation in Jerusalem via Skype to celebrate a joint worship service.
Three Anglican congregations in Johannesburg held a special Bible study on 25 September, focusing on Jerusalem and using the prayers and worship liturgy designed by Palestinian Christians especially for the week.
On 13 September, the John Knox International Reformed Centre and the Protestant Parish de Chêne hosted a presentation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 1897 to 2013, with Maurice Buttin and Michel Nseir of the World Council of Churches, at the Foyer du Temple de Chêne-Bougeries.
On 22 September, a former Ecumenical Accompanier led the prayers of intercession during worship at the Scots Kirk in Lausanne. Liturgy written for the day by Palestinian Christians was also used in the service. Following worship, there was an audio-visual presentation, with songs and pictures documenting the effects of the occupation.
In Lichfield on 21 September, there was an afternoon market, followed by an illustrated talk at the Lichfield Methodist Church. The guest speaker was Gwen Blackwell from the Women's International Solidarity Movement, who has worked in Bil'in in the West Bank.
On 22 September, St. John the Evangelist in Hedge End, Southampton, hosted an evening worship service using the liturgy written by Palestinian Christians for World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
On 23 September, Amnesty International UK hosted a discussion on the theme, “Defending Human Rights in Hebron and Area C of the Occupied West Bank,” with Hamed Qawasmeh, at The Human Rights Action Centre, London.
The public was invited to an evening of stories from recent trips to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, along with prayers for peace, on 24 September, at the Fairlie Parish Church, Largs, Scotland. The evening was sponsored by Christian Aid Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland.
A worship service entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” was held on 26 September at Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, featuring Dr. Harry Hargopian (consultant on Middle East Affairs) and Bishop Richard Llewellin (formerly Bishop at Lambeth).
The WWPPI UK planning group organized a worship service and advocacy event at Friends House in London, on 28 September. The main speakers were Bishop William Kenny, auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, and Reverend Paul Dean, United Reformed minister in Ashford, Kent, and a board member of EAPPI. The service included a time of silence, readings and prayers to mark this international day for a just peace. Following the service, there was an advocacy event, with a focus on residency rights, freedom of movement, and access. A game similar to Snakes and Ladders was played, highlighting the restrictions placed on free movement. Following the event, guests were invited into Friends House for refreshments and conversation.
Dobbin Street Community Centre, Armagh, was the setting for a panel discussion on 28 September with Richard Irvine of the Palestine Education Initiative, Anne Deighan of EAPPI, and Eileen Carr of Voices from Gaza. The discussion covered a range of topics, including the past suffering of Jewish people across Europe, the creation of the State of Israel and the subsequent illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, Israel’s disregard for human rights and international law, Israeli and Palestinian peace activists working together to bring about an end to the illegal occupation, and testimonies of children who survived the latest Israeli assault on Gaza.
During 28-29 September in Sunderland, a local festival of street art included an exhibition entitled “Make Hummus Not Walls,” a collection of photographs of artwork on the Israeli Separation Barrier taken by Ecumenical Accompaniers.
A group in Kings Heath, Birmingham, gathered during the week to pray for peace in Palestine Israel.
Sumud Palestine screened the award-winning film, "5 Broken Cameras," in Leek and Stafford in October.
The General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church issued a prayer for peace and reflections on Matthew chapter 5 in observance of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel. The agency encouraged all United Methodists to use these theological reflections during the week, and to participate in events calling for peace with justice for all people.
The Palestine/Israel Partnership of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta created and distributed a prayer for peace to be used during World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
Congregations, community groups, and people of faith in ten countries participated in the ACT Palestine Forum Prayer Vigil for peace in Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East on 24 September. Participants in this monthly vigil were located in the following countries: Canada, Finland, Israel, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States.