United Methodists are responding to Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth ,a statement of faith and urgent call to action from Christians in Palestine.  UMKR seeks, through nonviolent means and in partnership with Palestinian Christians, freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis.

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Methodists in Palestine in a Time of War

Wednesday, 31 January 2024
​Presented by UMKR and MFSA

In December 2023, South African Christians organized an international solidarity delegation to Palestine/Israel, shortly before South Africa charged Israel with genocide at the International Court of Justice. The delegation met with Palestinian Christian colleagues and human rights leaders across Palestine/Israel, as well as Jordan and Egypt, and attended the headline-making Christmas service at the Lutheran church in Bethlehem. They experienced the current realities in the region, from deserted Bethlehem and armed settlers in the old city of Jerusalem, to families of Israeli hostages in Tel Aviv. Unrest was palpable everywhere as a result of Israel's current war on Gaza. Join us to hear stories of faith and courage and firsthand observations of conditions on the ground in Palestine today, as well as updates on South Africa's genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.


UMKR and MFSA invite you to a briefing and conversation among prophetic Methodist leaders with considerable experience in this region, two of whom traveled with the Christmas season delegation:


Bishop IVAN M. ABRAHAMS is the fourth General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, and the first South African in that position; he began his tenure in 2012. From 2003-2012, Bishop Abrahams served as Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa–one of the largest Christian denominations in Southern Africa. During that time, he provided prophetic leadership and direction, including the successful completion of the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary. Bishop Abrahams is well-versed in casting vision, providing spiritual and strategic leadership, developing policies and procedures in line with values, goals and the mission of the church to achieve its vision. A renowned ecumenist and advocate for social justice, Bishop Abrahams is active in various fora including the All Africa Conference of Churches and the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. He is married to Esme F. Abrahams, General Hospital Manager (i.e. CEO) of Netcare Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg. Together they have three children and four grandchildren.

DAVID WILDMAN is the Executive Secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice with the United Methodist Church's General Board of Global Ministries and he serves as a GBGM liaison to the Steering Committee of UMKR. He also works on behalf of GBGM with grassroots partners in the Middle East and Afghanistan and visits Palestine/Israel and other parts of the Middle East regularly. David was a co-founder of US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)) and has served on its Steering Committee; he also helped to found United For Peace & Justice. He serves on the World Council of Churches Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) Core Group. From 1989 to 2001, he facilitated justice & peace seminars at the Church Center for the United Nations.  He is a board member of the National Farm Worker Ministry and is active in corporate accountability work with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.  David holds both an MDiv and MPhil (for doctoral work) in Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary (NY).

Moderator: Rev. Dr. SUSAN HENRY-CROWE is the recently retired General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. During her years at GBCS, she worked in all corners of United Methodist connectional life, led efforts at the United Nations, and advocated with ecumenical faith partners. She has served GBCS since her retirement as a consultant to further strengthen the agency’s presence and witness in advance of the 2024 General Conference. Previously, she was dean of the chapel and religious life at Emory University for 22 years. For more than 10 years, Henry-Crowe has served as an ecumenical collaborator with the World Council of Churches. She also served for 16 years in the United Methodist Judicial Council, where she was the first woman to be elected president. Henry-Crowe holds a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Wofford College and LaGrange College. She is an elder in the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.


Watch the webinar below.
Below the video, see information and resources shared during the webinar.

Related Resources 


​The United Methodist Social Principles, ¶164
"The Church regards the institution of slavery, the practice and commission of genocide, war crimes, crimes against human- ity, and aggression as infamous and atrocious evils. Such evils are destructive of humanity, promote impunity, and therefore must be unconditionally prohibited by all governments and shall never be tolerated by the Church.

A recent interview between Bishop Abrahams and Daoud Kuttab, about Zionism and Israeli genocide
https://menafn.com/1107666155/South-Africas-Rev-Abrams-Biblically-There-Is-No-Place-For-Zionism-And-Israel-Is-Committing-Genocide-And-Ethnic-Cleansing

An article about the South African-led delegation to Palestine/Israel:
Solidarity: SA Christian delegation to spend Xmas in Bethlehem

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2023-12-21-sa-christian-delegation-to-spend-christmas-in-bethlehem-in-solidarity-with-palestinians/

Christ in the Rubble: the widely reported service that the delegation attended, at
Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem, December 23, 2023

• Short news video about the powerful nativity display:
‘Christ in the rubble’: Christmas muted as Bethlehem grieves for Gaza

At the International Court of Justice, attorney quotes from Munther Isaac's Christ in the Rubble sermon:
https://www.facebook.com/kairospalestine/posts/pfbid0UVL3Etgu5D1tsWrjawRU8V6wDmZzKqZGBmSskyaGYxUBhPVYjoZdSYwvp6K11UQJl

Video of the sermon, Christ in the Rubble - Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac - Dec 23, 2023
https://www.facebook.com/christmaslutheranchurch/videos/2417884558393578/

• Video of the entire church service on Dec. 23
Dec 23 Christ in the Rubble - A Liturgy of Lament - Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem

Two valuable articles by David Wildman: 
Why Divestment? Why Now?
https://www.kairosresponse.org/why_divest_why_now.html
What Does the Lord Require of the Ecumenical Movement Today?
https://unjppi.org/david-wildman-on-bds.html

UMKR'S website section on the current war in Palestine/Israel, 
including
- "A Call to the Church in a Time of Moral Reckoning"
- Humanitarian aid (giving to UNRWA and others)
- Action to contact U.S. government leaders
and more.
War in Palestine/Israel in 2023: Actions, Resources, more
https://www.kairosresponse.org/war2023_palestine-israel.html

Take action for this urgent moment and for long-term change:
• ACTION ALERT TO CONTACT U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERS:

https://umkr.salsalabs.org/AlertCeasefireOct2023

JOIN THE APARTHEID-FREE MOVEMENT:
https://apartheid-free.org
Email UMKR for help in bringing this to your church and taking the pledge:
umkr.organizing@gmail.com

DISCOVER ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK
Now the whole month of March!
https://bdsmovement.net/IAW2024-March-For-Palestine
The Methodist Liaison Office (MLO) in Jerusalem:
A joint initiative of The United Methodist Church, the World Methodist Council and the Methodist Church of Britain.

The MLO is holding weekly briefings and prayer time,
every Wednesday at 10am PT, 1pm ET, 8pm Jerusalem
Email the office to receive a zoom link to join them -
Samar Hashweh, the MLO manager:
Office@Mlojerusalem.org 

Rev. Jane Eesley, our United Methodist Liaison at the MLO:
Jeesley@umcmission.org 
Jeesley@gmail.com 
Our church asks United Methodists to contact the MLO when planning a Holy Land visit, for important insights and assistance in planning your trip.

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