Greetings from the steering committee of the Mennonite Palestine Israel Network! In this email we want to share with you some updates from MennoPIN’s three subcommittees.
1. Education Subcommittee: Our objective is to provide educational resources to congregations and encourage them to become better informed about Palestinian Christians, about the background of the conflict, and about the quest for a just peace for Israel and Palestine. We are developing a short resource list that we will soon be distributing to pastors and congregations. During the recent attack on Gaza, the committee distributed a bulletin insert about the situation that was prepared by MennoPIN. In conjunction with the Peace Sunday service, “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem,” prepared by the Peace and Justice Support Network, the committee is encouraging congregations to screen the new video about Palestinian Christians called “The Stones Cry Out.” We are also developing a list of local advocates who can make connections with congregations in their area and encourage educational activities.
2. Advocacy/Action Subcommittee: Our major focus recently has been on a Palestine/Israel resolution to put before the General Convention of Mennonite USA in Kansas City, 2015. The major points of the resolution refer to promoting existing Mennonite church programs of education and service in Palestine, urging divestment from companies that profit off of the occupation, and supporting Kairos Palestine (the Arab Christian Churches) through education about the occupation and conditions that these churches face. We have also sent applications to the Convention to present several sessions there on various aspects of the occupation, to have a MennoPIN booth in the exhibit hall and to show the movie, “The Stones Cry Out.” This recent movie details the events leading to current condition of the Christian Churches in Palestine.
3. Communication and Grassroots Subcommittee: We have much exciting news, and many ways for you to get involved with our work. We are very excited to be launching our Facebook campaign. We have done some brainstorming and have a lot of ideas to share with you over that platform. If you have ideas of your own please let us know by expressing your interest in joining the communications subcommittee in a reply email. We are also looking for someone to help us launch a Twitter presence. If you are interested in helping the network in that way please let us know with a reply. We are also in the middle of upgrading our webpage. Keep an eye out for the new updated site coming soon. If you are interested in helping us maintain the site please let us know with a reply.
4. Kansas City 2015: As our subcommittees have reported, we are hard at work preparing for a MennoPIN presence at next year’s Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City. One aspect of that presence is securing an information booth in the convention exhibit hall. We have started the process of applying for a booth, but the cost is $650. We welcome any assistance in covering this cost. If are interest in helping, checks can be written to “Pleasant View Mennonite Church,” clearly marked “MennoPIN” in the memo line, and sent to:
c/o Joy Lapp
504 W Henry Street
Mount Pleasant IA 52641
5. News from 13th Annual Conference of U.S. Coalition to End the Occupation, San Diego, CA, September 19-21, 2014: MennoPIN was represented at this conference and also participated in the preconference Interdenominational Palestine Project Group. The preconference brought together representatives of seven denominations and seven interdenominational groups to discuss support for various boycott, divestment and sanctions projects. The group chose to support for this this year the campaign against the imprisonment, physical abuse and forced confessions of Palestinian children, “No Way to Treat a Child.” Good information, literature and audio-visual material on this project can be found at www.chicagofaithcoalition.org and updates on the campaign can be found at www.facebook.com/nowaytotreatachild. This action will join with the effort to pressure the G4S Security Corporation that provides the technology for these prisons for children to withdraw from the occupied territories. The goal is to have U.S. congressional hearings on the Israeli imprisonment of children because it violates U.S. law and therefore would cause a withdrawal of U.S. military spending in Israel. G4S has already given its promise that it will leave the occupied territories, but this joint action will monitor their efforts to assure they proceed as planned. Palestinian youth and women were well represented at the U.S. Coalition Conference. The focus was on expanding the BDS efforts by forming cross-coalitions with other minority groups who suffer oppression, colonization, and military occupation. Examples were given of cooperative efforts of African Americans, Latinos and Latinas, women, and indigenous peoples working with Palestinian students in the U.S. on projects of interest to all parties. The goal is to expand and join the work against Palestinian occupation to similar actions around the world.
Finally, we close with Sabeel’s recent “wave of prayer”: sabeel.org/waveofprayer.php. And in case you missed it, Mennonite World Review ran an article where about Zoughbi Zoughbi, director of the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center: http://mennoworld.org/2014/09/15/palestine-peace-seeker-shares-goal/. Please continue to keep the people of Palestine-Israel in your thoughts and prayers.
Sabeel Wave of Prayer, October 2, 2014
We congratulate our Muslim brothers and sisters as they prepare to celebrate Eid al-Adha next week. We pray that it will be a blessed time with friends and family. We also wish for our Jewish neighbors who are keeping Yom Kippur that they will have a peaceful day of prayer and reflection. Lord in your mercy…
Lord, we pray that Israel’s military might is replaced with compassion, so that freedom of religion can be practiced throughout this land. We pray that Israeli authorities will stop the unjust practice of limiting Palestinian movement and prohibiting access of Muslims to their holy sites during the Jewish holidays. The Jewish settlers will be allowed to visit the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque (Sanctuary of Abraham) in Hebron at this time while thousands of the city’s Palestinian worshippers are banned. Lord in your mercy…
Lord, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seeks majority support in the UN Security Council for his initiative to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands within a specific time frame, we pray that the world community can come together and support Palestine’s legitimate cry for sovereignty with action. The Palestinian people are waiting as illegal Jewish settlements expand around their communities, choking their movement, farmland and livelihoods. Lord in your mercy…
According to a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), so far in 2014 as many as 41 Palestinians in the West Bank were killed and 4,266 have been injured by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted and during Israel’s search and arrest operations. The Palestinian people are crying out against Israel’s illegal occupation, Lord; set the oppressed free. Lord in your mercy…
We thank you for your generous blessing on Sabeel as we continue to work for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. We also thank you for the Sabeel local and international volunteers who donate their time and service so humbly. Lord in your mercy…
Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network Steering Committee:
- Jonathan Brenneman (Lima Mennonite Church, Lima, OH)
- Tom Harder (Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS)
- Joy Lapp (Pleasant View Mennonite Church, Mt Pleasant, IA)
- George Muedeking (Albuquerque Mennonite Church, Albuquerque, NM)
- Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach (Peace Fellowship Church, Washington, DC)
- Timothy Seidel (Community Mennonite Church, Lancaster, PA)