Last October a group of 20 Maine Episcopalians from a dozen congregations traveled to Israel and Palestine for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In addition to the holy sites, they had the opportunity to hear from many people involved in working for peace and dealing with circumstances resulting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The visitors from Maine were profoundly moved by the people they met and the conditions they witnessed.
As they considered how to share their experiences with their fellow parishioners, friends, and neighbors back in Maine, they lighted upon the idea to bring the remarkable Palestinian Christians and Muslims they met to Maine…by way of online conversations.
These online conversations – a virtual pilgrimage – with people from different walks of life in Palestine and Israel will allow Mainers and others interested to learn first-hand about the region and the conditions under which our five guests live and work.
Held on five Sunday afternoons in Lent, each conversation will begin at 3 p.m. (Eastern) with a 30 minute presentation and 15 minutes of Q&A.
Participants may ask questions through the chat function of Zoom – the webinar program – or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No advance registration is required to participate. A solid internet connection and computer speakers are the only requirements. Each meeting can accommodate up to 50 viewers who are encouraged to join the meeting (by clicking the Zoom link for that presentation listed below). Please plan to join the meeting ten minutes prior to the start time to work out any technical issues.
Please join us for this remarkable opportunity to hear directly from five fascinating, accomplished Palestinians.
Daily life under occupation
Sunday, March 19, 3 .m. (EDT)
with Walid Abu Alhalaweh, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee
Ten years ago, the Old City of Hebron, an ancient city south of Bethlehem on Palestine’s West Bank, was
regarded as the poorest part of town. It suffered from social and economic problems, and environmental pollution. More than a third of its buildings were desolate, abandoned or crumbling. Infrastructure was lacking. Israeli soldiers and settlers harassed the occupants. Closures, curfews and shortages caused residents to leave, bringing commerce almost to a halt.
In the face of this discouragement a Presidential Decree was issued on 12 August 1996, ordering the creation of Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, of which Walid serves as Public Relations Director. This initiative acknowledged Hebron’s religious and cultural status and recognized the determination of the people of Hebron, their institutions – municipal, communal and academic – and the Palestinian leadership, to cherish the cultural heritage of the City and to safeguard it from the encroachment of illegal Israeli settlements.
Learn more from Walid on March 19 at 3 p.m. at https://zoom.us/j/282439822
The Church’s Response to occupation and its call to ministry
Sunday, March 26, 3 p.m. (EDT)
with Father Fadi Diab, rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ramallah:
Fr. Fadi Diab is the rector of St. Andrew’s in Ramallah on Palestine’s West Bank. In addition to the many parish activities, the congregation works to develop job programs for youth enabling them to stay in the area and to continue to support Christians spiritually and socially. The parish provide leadership and pastoral support for St. Andrew’s School, the Episcopal Vocational and Technical Training Center, and our sister parish in Bir Zeit with a developing elderly housing project. Fr. Diab
will also talk about many of the healthcare ministries in the Diocese of Jerusalem including Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and the Arab Episcopal Medical Center, adjacent to St. Andrew’s, that offers services to patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Learn more from Fadi on March 26 at 3 p.m. at https://zoom.us/j/700562854
Life as a Palestinian Christian in Israel
Sunday, April 2, 3 p.m. (EDT) with Violette Khoury, Director of Sabeel Nazareth
Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation movement among Palestinian Christians. In Arabic Sabeel means “The Way” and also a “Spring of Water.” Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians.
Violette is the Director of Sabeel Nazareth. The Nazareth branch of Sabeel ministers to the Christian population living inside Israel. Their unique circumstance of being Arab, Christian, Palestinian, and citizens of Israel creates an identity problem that involves unemployment and discrimination.
Learn more from Violette on April 2 at 3 p.m. at https://zoom.us/j/471912955
Economic realities under occupation, especially for young Palestinians
Sunday, April 9, 3 p.m. (EDT)
with Sam Bahour, Muslim Palestinian-American businessman
Sam is a Palestinian-American based in Al-Bireh/Ramallah, Palestine who relocated with his family to Palestine from the United States in 1995 to assist in the building of the Palestinian telecommunications sector. He was part of the core team that established the Palestine Telecommunications Company (PALTEL). In 1997, Sam established a management consulting firm, Applied Information Management (AIM), which is engaged in business development, executive counsel, strategic management, and investment, with a niche focus on start-ups. In addition, he founded the Palestine Diaspora Investment Company (PDIC) and is co-founder of American for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy.
Learn more from Sam on April 9 at 3 p.m. at https://zoom.us/j/650117784
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