Dear Friends,

We are passing along a few pieces of information.

First is an update regarding the recent Mennonite Church USA delegation to Palestine-Israel.

Second is a petition we would encourage you to consider, drafted by Friends of Sabeel North America and written to Pope Francis as he prepares for his upcoming trip to the “Holy Land”.

Third, we are sharing information regarding an upcoming speaking tour here in the U.S. by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, to promote his new book, Faith in the Face of Empire.

Finally, while we are talking about new resources, please check out this new book by Mennonite scholar Alain Epp Weaver, Mapping Exile and Return: Palestinian Dispossession and a Political Theology for a Shared Future. Learn more about this important resource here: https://www.facebook.com/mappingexileandreturn.

Thank you.

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1. “Kairos Palestine: An Interchurch Initiative” by Andre Gingerich Stoner

In this reflection, Andre says: “On a recent learning tour to Israel/Palestine sponsored by Mennonite Church USA, we met leaders of a remarkable interchurch initiative. In December 2009, Palestinian Christians spoke with one voice to the world about what is happening in Palestine through an 18 page statement entitled ‘Kairos Palestine:  A Moment of Truth'”…

Read more about this at http://www.mennoniteusa.org/2014/03/14/kairos-palestine-an-interchurch-initiative/.

And for glimpses of the learning tour, check out photos and reflections in their Travelogue: http://www.mennoniteusa.org/2014/02/26/israel-palestine-learning-tour-travelogue/.

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2. Add Your Signature to Open Letter to Pope Francis Regarding the Rights of Palestinian Children

http://pressreleases.religionnews.com/2014/03/05/ash-wednesday-letter-pope-francis-speak-targeting-palestinian-children/

An Open Letter asking Pope Francis to publicly call on Israel to end its violations of international law and human rights was delivered to him on March 5, 2014 with signatures of over 200 bishops, clergy, members of religious orders and theologians. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has now added his support of this letter.

Now you can sign the petition in support of this Open Letter to Pope Francis asking him to:

– speak out against the Israeli military’s program of kidnapping, detention, and systematic abuse of Palestinian children;

– call on Israel to respect international law, end its occupation of Palestine, and terminate its brutal siege on and blockade of Gaza;

– ask other nations to address policies toward Israel that have allowed the abuses of occupation and colonization of Palestine to fester for so many decades and to demand justice, accountability and the implementation of international law.

Please sign and forward the link and ask others to sign.  For more information, see: www.fosna.org/content/advocacy-campaign.

The Open Letter and petition were initiated by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA.org).  Special thanks to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for hosting the petition:  www.endtheoccupation.org/Letter2Pope.

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3. Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb coming to the United States

The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, and President of the Diyar Consortium, will be in the US in the coming weeks to promote his new book, Faith in the Face of Empire (http://globalministries.org/news/mee/the-search-for-jesus-in-the.html). This looks to be a very good book. Mitri is an important Palestinian Christian leader, a great thinker, and an active promoter of a positive Palestinian presence in the midst of occupation.

Attached, please find the schedule of his upcoming speaking tour.  Please consider attending an event near you, and if you can publicize the events in your area, that would be great. Thanks, and please do not hesitate to be in contact if you have any questions.

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4. Mapping Exile and Return by Dr. Alain Epp Weaver

Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture at the University of California Berkeley, describes Mennonite theologian Alain Epp Weaver’s new book: “This beautifully conceived and beautifully written book ought to convince many Jews and many friends of the Jews that not only need Palestinian aspirations for justice not be a threat to Jewish existence but even more, that it is only through the recognition of the claims of Palestinians and the seeking of justice for Palestine that a worthwhile Jewish existence can be secured for the future as well.” Please check out this important new book by http://www.amazon.com/Mapping-Exile-Return-Palestinian-Dispossession/dp/1451470126/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394815624&sr=1-1.

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