The Knox congregation met after church for Courageous Conversations about a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel. The forum was well attended and very informative. Most left wanting to learn more and more importantly wanting to do more.
Please take a moment to study the image of a Disappearing Palestine, view the video below and read the Moderator's Letter written just this month to the Canadian government (it is attached at the end of this article).
Opening Remarks by Susan McAlpine , Chair of Knox Board
I’d like to welcome everyone who has joined us today: Members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, our local community, neighbour churches, and the Knox United Church congregation.
The United Church of Canada asks people across Canada to give their attention to 4 key justice initiatives:
Reconciliation & Indigenous Justice
The Unsettling Goods Campaign – Choosing peace in Palestine & Israel
Today we’ve invited Martha Roth from Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) to present background information on the Israel Palestine conflict, and to help facilitate discussion on the subject. With her are co-facilitators:
Dr. Jane Power
I.J.V. is a national human rights organization whose mandate is to promote a just resolution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine through the application of international law and respect for the human rights of all parties.
Sharon Copeman and David Cass will talk to us about the Unsettling Goods campaign, and will provide insight into other activities being undertaken by the United Church of Canada. The United Church invites its faith communities to engage in “courageous conversations” about just peace in Palestine and Israel, and we’re so pleased to have Martha, David and Sharon lead us in conversation today.
Closing Comments from The Rev. Sharon Copeman
Those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus, to live in the light of his way — his way of compassion — his way of love — his way of relationship, know that we face a challenge that may not be easy and is sometimes not particularly comfortable. But it is our way — and it is radically rewarding!
So what is Jesus’ way? Well, he was a story-teller par excellence! And the stories he told inevitably turned the world up-side-down! We may feel like today’s stories, the stories we’ve heard, have turned our understanding on it’s ear… or we may already have had a hunch the real story was not what we hear in the news. Establishing peace with justice for Israelis and Palestinians in this Holy Land would indeed turn their world up-side-down — for all of them — it’s hard to let go of fear! It’s hard to trust that another’s conversion — another’s transformation — is real and will last. It’s hard to see in a whole new way! It’s hard to create peace where fear and suspicion have prevailed. And since we are on the other side of the world, it’s hard for us to believe we can do anything to change the situation.
But just as the video at the beginning of our gathering illustrated, we do have power. So like Jesus, as his followers, we can get involved, and dig deeper to learn and understand what is happening day-to-day, and then tell the stories of life as it really is — day to day — night to night — for Israelis and Palestinians.
We can refuse to be silenced. We can stand in solidarity with those who are working for a just peace for all people whose roots and heritage are deep in this ancient holy land.
Rev. Liz departed from the lectionary at Knox this morning to remind us of Jesus’ call to his followers to love. As followers of Jesus, we share the ancient Jewish law Jesus told his followers was the greatest commandment — we are called to love God, with our whole being — body, mind and spirit — and to love our neighbour as we love our selves. When asked who that includes, Jesus reminds us that everyone is our neighbour, including especially those we might be inclined to leave out. Paul pushes that point, telling us that love is an action, not a sentiment. In the midst of dark and challenging moments and encounters Holy Love is what gives us the courage and the tenacity to hang on and keep hoping and working and struggling and believing that peace with justice is possible. Love never gives up.
Martin Luther King Jr, in 1958 declared: “Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.”
Holy Love invites and gives us the courage to listen from the heart as we seek the truth and tell the story. Holy Love gives us the wisdom to write a letter or make a call that can make a difference. Holy Love, our love, in action.
People from IJV are ready and willing to talk to you individually or in a group about this tremendously important subject. You can contact them through their website http://ijvcanada.org
Israel / Palestine Conflict Video 101: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/israeli-palestinian-conflict-101/
Barbara Lloyd video – Settlements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sib5HbdEV4 IJV
Canada website: http://offhand.org/
Mondo Weiss Blog: http://mondoweiss.net/