"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

Close to the Christians. Visiting the HolyLand Coordination

Posted on Jan 18, 2019

18 January 2019 – The visit to the Christian communities in Northern Israel and the Northern Palestinian Territories helped the bishops who took part in the Holy Land Coordination to see “the great need” of promoting a fair peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

This year, the Coordination of the Holy Land, which includes bishops from North America, Europe and South Africa, visiting from 11th to 17th January, focused on challenges and opportunities for Christians in Israel. The bishops could visit Christian hospitals, schools and villages as well as meet the living stones.

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Video resource on plight of Palestinian children prompted by General Synod resolution, 3 Great Loves

Posted on Jan 17, 2019

United Church of Christ

January 03, 2019
Written by Barb Powell

In response to a 2017 General Synod resolution calling for an end to the human rights violations and violence surrounding Palestinian children living in the occupied West Bank, a new UCC video resource has been released to help church members better understand the issues and become advocates for justice.

“How Are the Children Now?” is a two-part video resource produced by the UCC Palestine Israel Network (UCCPIN) that is geared toward adult church school classes. Released in December, it is the culmination of a 7-month process to develop an educational resource to fulfill the Synod resolution’s mandate that local churches “learn about the plight of children in Palestine and the State of Israel” and foster continued community and interfaith partnerships to advocate for the rights of children.

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WCC responds to misleading report by NGO Monitor and its criticism of EAPPI

Posted on Jan 17, 2019

World Council of Churches, 14 January 2019 – The World Council of Churches (WCC) published an open letter to media in response to the new report released by the NGO Monitor criticizing the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

The WCC was informed by media in advance of the publication of the report, which describes the EAPPI programme as “The World Council of Churches’ Training Camp for Anti-Israel Advocacy”. WCC offers the following comments:

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Youth of Jesus’ Homeland prepares to participate in World Youth Day in Panama

Posted on Jan 15, 2019

by Rula Shomali, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

RAMALLAH – The Youth of Jesus’ Homeland concluded their preparatory meetings in the Holy Family Parish in Ramallah, on Friday, January 11, 2019, for the World Youth Days in Panama which will start on January 22 until February 6, 2019.

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Jerusalem’s Patriarchs and Heads of Churches condemn insulting images of Christian faith at Haifa Museum of Art

Posted on Jan 15, 2019

STATEMENT – We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, strongly condemn the irresponsible and provocative images that were displayed at the Haifa Museum of Art which is under the patronage of the Haifa Municipality. The Haifa Museum of Art allowed an exhibition that aimed to criticize ‘consumerism’ within the Israeli society. The content of this exhibition includes insulting images of the most sacred figures and symbols of the Christian faith. This issue is unacceptable and should be denounced and undone immediately. The respect of religious symbols and figures, whether Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, should be preserved no matter what. 

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Newsletter to/from Palestinian Christians

Posted on Jan 13, 2019

by Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh

A cold front passed over Palestine and we are expecting another cold front Wednesday. Plants are growing but people are still in disarray and Gaza was bombed (again) using US taxpayer money (that part of the government was not shut down). Refugees and displaced people are in cold rainy dwellings.

We are moving forward with the museum development; it would be much easier in any other country, see our annual reports and plans here: https://www.palestinenature.org/about-us/ .

Two new blogs here reflects our
thoughts:

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Christians in Israel under the Microscope of the Department of Statistics

Posted on Jan 4, 2019

According to data published by the Central Department of Statistics in Israel, on the eve of Christmas 2018, around 175 000 Christians live in Israel. They constitute 2 % of the total population in Israel. In 2017 the average of Christian demographic growth reached 2.2 %, against 1.4 % in the previous year. The hike is attributed to the arrival of 597 immigrants from Ethiopia.

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WCC-EAPPI nurtures partnerships for just peace

Posted on Jan 3, 2019

The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) works for just peace in the Holy Land. And as peace cannot be a one-sided process, efforts are made continuously to build partnerships along the full range of the spectrum.

“We believe the WCC-EAPPI has a role to play, not only as a protective presence, but as a bridge-builder,” reflects WCC-EAPPI international coordinator Rev. Dr Owe Boersma. “So each term, we make sure our ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) are given an opportunity not only to observe life under occupation in the Palestinian territories, but also to establish and nurture partnerships with other organizations working for justice and peace in the area.”

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Fr Alexi – a peacemaker in Syria

Posted on Jan 3, 2019

By Marianne Ejdersten*

21 December 2018 – WCC (World Council of Churches) News met with the Very Reverend Archimandrite Dr Alexi Chehadeh, who leads the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East (GOPA) in Damascus, Syria. He is an impressive role model and peacemaker in Syria.

We discussed the state of the crisis in Syria and the many challenges that aid workers face there. His organization, DERD, is the largest independent local NGO operating inside Syria. He shares his passion for finding ways to distribute aid to people of all faiths, despite the particularly vulnerable situation of Christians in a country where ISIS has a horrendous record of crucifying them.

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New Year Resolutions of a Palestinian Christian

Posted on Jan 1, 2019

We can also say that a people movement for justice, for human rights, and for the environment is growing around the world.

A letter from Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh:

This is the last weekly message of 2018, a year with good and bad points, but we here in the birthplace of Jesus remain optimistic about the future.

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Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and World Day of Peace: Political action and the Kingdom of God

Posted on Jan 1, 2019

Around us, we have witnessed tragedies that we never thought could happen in our age. But also, in our land, we continue to see a slow, continuous, and no less dangerous degradation and crumbling of ties at all levels of society, of political ties and social trust. Years of failed negotiations, peace plans announced and never realized, social initiatives started and never ended, and a stagnant economy. We could go on with the litany of unresolved problems. Moreover, the conflict has become part of our system of life and our way of thinking: in movements, in the organization of any initiative; in short, in everything we do.

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Palestinian Christians: 2018 in Review

Posted on Jan 1, 2019

We can also say that a people movement for justice, for human rights, and for the environment is growing around the world.

A letter from Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh:

This is the last weekly message of 2018, a year with good and bad points, but we here in the birthplace of Jesus remain optimistic about the future.

…What can we say about 2018?

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Christian Peacemaking Team: Christ Light in Al-Khalil

Posted on Dec 30, 2018

by Lisa Pires

The Light shines in the darkness, a light that darkness cannot quench (John 1:5).
He brings them out of darkness into light (Quran 2:257)

Christmas comes just after the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. Into this darkness the Christ Light comes, symbolizing the hopes of all humankind for peace, love and justice. The Christ Light is universal and inclusive, embracing all races, religions, nations and peoples: in fact, the entire Universe. It shines even when it is not perceptible to our finite senses, in the midst of horror, injustice, inequality, and all that is in the darkness.

In al-Khalil (Hebron), we CPTers experience this Christ Light in the warm smiles of the people we meet each day, even when they suffer humiliation and oppression.

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A Christmas plea to my Christian brothers and sisters

Posted on Dec 27, 2018

Image: Mass at Saint Catherine's Church, in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally recognized by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Tuesday, December 25, 2018. (Photo by Nasser Nasser / POOL / APA Images)

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, heads a Christmas midnight Mass at Saint Catherine’s Church, in the Church of the Nativity, traditionally recognized by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on Tuesday, December 25, 2018. (Photo by Nasser Nasser / POOL / APA Images)

Image: Robert Herbst

Robert Herbst

by Robert Herbst* | Posted in Mondoweiss

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this Christmas in the year 2018, hear my confession, and my plea:

I need help.

I need your help.

Many lives are at stake.

It is a big ask.

It would take courage, determination and commitment, love and grace.

In the wake of the Holocaust – the culmination of centuries of Christian anti-Semitism — my People, the Jewish People, felt a deep need for a safe and eternal refuge – a Jewish homeland — and persuaded the Western World to put it in the Holy Land, where we were outnumbered by Gentiles — Christians and Muslims.

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Homily of Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa for Christmas 2018

Posted on Dec 27, 2018

Christmas Night 2018

“Jesus comes to live in our city”

Mister President, Esteemed Authorities, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood, dear brothers and sisters, beloved faithful of our Jerusalem diocese, dear pilgrims from all over the world and all who, on this holy night, are connected with us through the many means of communication: each of us, gathered together in this place, feels called to Bethlehem, the city where our Savior, Who is Christ the Lord, was born!

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem” (Mt 2:1): This is not only an historical-geographical indication but a divine choice. Being born here, in a particular place, in a city of this land is what God has always wanted, as He loves the cities of men. If the Bible begins in a Garden, then it ends in a city, the holy Jerusalem. And the very life of Christ, which begins here, from birth to death, will be a continuous journey through cities and villages: the desert was, for Him, a necessary, but not definitive, pause.

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Christmas Greetings from Taybeh

Posted on Dec 25, 2018

by Maria Khoury

From the Land of Christ’s holy birth, wishing all of you a healthy, blessed Merry Christmas!

Here in the Holy Land we celebrate Christmas three times! Today, Bethlehem is the place to be to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. The Orthodox Holy Nativity Liturgy will take place in the early hours of January 7th and the Orthodox Armenian community will celebrate the birth of our Lord on the same day as the Holy Epiphany according to the Old Julian calendar which falls on January 19th.

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“Differences of religion do not separate us, but rather enrich us in many areas of life”

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

“By the grace of God, we, as Christians, have been living in the East for two thousand years, and we have coexisted with our Muslim brothers and sisters for many centuries. Differences of religion do not separate us, but rather enrich us in many areas of life.” — Patriarch John X of Antioch

World Council of Churches, Dec. 18, 2018 – From 14-16 December in the UK, the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and Cumberland Lodge held a conference titled “Towards Peaceful co-existence in the Middle East: challenges and opportunities.” Co-hosted by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the gathering drew participants from a broad range of Middle Eastern and European churches.

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Children and young people of the Holy Land prepare for Christmas

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

Dancing … singing … and also acting … these little artists are preparing for Christmas! The stage for the Festival of Talents was set up at the John Paul II Foundation in Bethlehem.

Sister FAYEZA AYAD
Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

“We take advantage of the fact that Christmas really brings peace in our hearts to share the joy of Jesus that is born within us and bring peace to the whole world at this time when we really need it”.

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Three Different Days of Christmas Celebrations in Bethlehem

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

Bethlehem is the only place in the world where one can celebrate Christmas on three different days with three different religious traditions.

by Tony Khashram, Managing Director, Aeolus Tours

Christmas in the Holy Land occurs three times, once on December 25th according to the Western Christian Church and again on January 6th according to the Eastern Christian Church and a third time on January 18th for the Armenian Christians.[1] Each Christmas celebration is led by the respective church patriarch, along with their entourage of supporting religious and temporal leaders. All celebrate Christmas with a recurring set of events that have occurred by-and-large the same way for hundreds of years. These arrangements are often referred to as “the status quo”, and they include understandings between the different churches as well as with the local leadership. The three different Christmas Eves follow the very same protocol to the letter.

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Join a CPT Delegation to Palestine/Israel in 2019

Posted on Dec 20, 2018

Christian Peacemaker Team – Road closures, home invasions, checkpoints, and the presence of militant Israeli settlers near Palestinian villages continue to threaten Palestinian human rights, and Israel’s separation barrier (much of it built on confiscated Palestinian land) continues to separate Palestinian communities from each other and ordinary Israelis and Palestinians seeking to come together for peace. CPT delegation members will gain a perspective on how these issues affect daily life, and will experience the power of Palestinian and Israeli citizens overcoming what seem to many to be permanent obstacles.

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Fr. Mario: “Gaza’s Christians should not require permits to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem”

Posted on Dec 15, 2018

Image: Nativity play at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza. ©Andres Bergamini/ LPJ Archives

Nativity play at the Holy Family Parish in Gaza. ©Andres Bergamini/ LPJ Archives

by Saher Kawas, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

GAZA – Every year during the Christmas season, Bethlehem becomes the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Christians from all over the world to celebrate the nativity of the Savior. For Gaza’s Christian community, celebrating Christmas and visiting family where Jesus was born is a privilege which half of them do not have.

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Holy Christmas Days Are Not So Holy in Palestine

Posted on Dec 13, 2018

by Maria Khoury

It is very sad to have extreme violence during these most holy Christmas days but almost expected living under Israeli military occupation. All hell broke loose today in the West Bank following the killing of three settlers near Ramallah in a drive-by shooting where the attackers fled the scene. These killings made many settlers in our area literally go crazy, and they were damaging and attacking all Palestinian cars stuck at military checkpoints for hours on end. Israel immediately arrested sixty Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and anyway in the last few days has been in a intense raid spree in Ramallah.

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Maryknoll Middle East Notes: Building Walls

Posted on Dec 9, 2018

“Let us build walls” seems to be the motto of the present wall builders in Israel and they have succeeded in constructing two walls…not so much to keep the Palestinians out but to keep Israelis in! Their outer physical wall along with its new air and sea additions is restricting entry into the country; their inner wall of “orthodoxy” is alienating Jews of the US and world. The present government of Israel in its attempts to wall off and at the same time incorporate the Occupied Territories are immuring their own citizens in a walled prison of their own making.

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Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi in February to promote peace

Posted on Dec 6, 2018

Image: Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces, during a Sept. 15 private audience at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Clausio Peri, EPA)

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces, during a Sept. 15 private audience at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Clausio Peri, EPA)

by Gerard O’Connell, America

Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, from Feb. 3 to 5, to participate in an international interfaith meeting on “Human Fraternity,” the Vatican announced today.

In a surprise announcement, Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See’s press office, said Pope Francis is going at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. The crown prince visited the pope at the Vatican in September 2016 and assured him that he was working for peace alongside Francis.

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Rev. Naim Ateek: Sabeel Christmas Message 2018

Posted on Dec 6, 2018

Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center“Do not be afraid, for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…” (Luke 2:10)

Dear Friends,

As we look back on 2018, we see that it has been a very difficult year in Palestine. It has been another year in which refugees were denied rights, and another year of occupation in Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. There has been continued Jewish settler violence, home demolitions, arbitrary detention and arrests, deprivation of natural resources, and restriction of movement. While these are not new measures of occupation, the situation has been exacerbated by several political decisions. These include the ratification of the Nation State Law by the Israeli Parliament, the American decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem, and the defunding of UN operations designed to help Palestinian refugees.

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Pope Francis meets Mahmoud Abbas

Posted on Dec 4, 2018

Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy City for the three Abrahamic religions.

Image: Pope Francis meets Mahmoud Abbas

Pope Francis meets Mahmoud Abbas (ANSA)

Vatican News, Dec. 3, 2018  – Pope Francis on Monday met with the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas in the Vatican. A statement released following the discussions described the meeting as cordial. During the talks, attention turned to the path of reconciliation among the Palestinian people, as well as the efforts to reactivate the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

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YWCA Statement on the International Day of Solidarity of the Palestinian People

Posted on Nov 29, 2018

Samia Khoury writes: “On this day, November 29, the international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people I take the opportunity of sending you the joint statement of the World YWCA and the YWCA of Palestine.”

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The Lasallian Brothers celebrate the Jubilee Year with the strength of their presence in the Holy Land

Posted on Nov 23, 2018

On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Baptiste De la Salle, a French priest and founder of the Lasallians, Pope Francis granted the congregation a Jubilee Year! The legacy of this saint; the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, has spread and is now present in more than 80 countries. The Lasallian Brothers administer it all: Men who consecrate themselves totally to God by making vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They dedicate life to the mission of the human and Christian education of children and youth, especially the poorest of them. The Lasallian Brothers administer it all: Men who consecrate themselves totally to God by making vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They dedicate life to the mission of the human and Christian education of children and youth, especially the poorest of them.

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“Holy Land: Knowledge in order to be able to love and serve”

Posted on Nov 23, 2018

It all began with Francis, who visited the Holy Land 800 years ago and desired, even personally, to care for the places where Jesus Christ had lived his earthly life. Since then he established the overseas Province, “The Custody”, which still operates today, working alongside the Friars Minor, cooperating with collaborators and volunteers and religious of other Congregations who cooperate in the Sanctuaries, Schools, Libraries, Museums and all other sectors of the mission that have developed over the years. In order for the service to be carried out successfully, it is necessary to get to know this centuries-old history! And for this reason, the Training Course for the Collaborators of the Custody of the Holy Land was promoted.

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Rosary Sisters celebrate Feast of their foundress Mary Alphonsine Ghattas in Jerusalem

Posted on Nov 22, 2018

‘Sultaneh’ (Mary Alphonsine Ghattas) was born in the Old City of Jerusalem, on October 4, 1838….

by Rula Shomali, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – On Monday, November 19, 2018, the faithful gathered from all parts of Palestine to celebrate the Feast of Mary Alphonsine Ghattas, the foundress of the Rosary congregation in our Lady of the Rosary Church in Mamilla, Jerusalem.

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