On our closing evening in Jerusalem, after having dined in Bethlehem, we asked our guide, Gus, how we could pray for him. “Don’t forget the Living Stones when you go home.” Gus is a Palestinian Christian living in a land filled with tensions that I can only begin to understand. I, along with 19 other Presbyterian pastors, had wandered the land of our faith for 15 days and had barely scratched the surface of the politics of Israel/Palestine. My prayers for Gus continue as well as prayers for the other Living Stones, regardless of their faith claims.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has long been active in the Middle East. Most recently, a task force has worked for close to two years studying the complex issues in Israel/Palestine and will release their report for the upcoming General Assembly meeting this summer.
Suffice it to say, not everyone is happy. A colleague of mine in Atlanta, Marthame Sanders, who served on the committee has shared on his blog some of the recent concerns raised by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It is discouraging to read the report on the Wiesenthal website. Words such as hostile activists, anti-Israel beliefs, radical agenda, “leaked” press release (it wasn’t leaked – it was a press release!), poisonous document, declaration of war, are fraught with emotion. Some of the information is flat out wrong.
My intent for placing this on my blog is to encourage the mass of readers that come here (humor, friends!) to read the information. All the information. In addition to the links above, here is the response from the Stated Clerk of our denomination. Read it. Please. The final report of the study team has not been released but I will place the link on here as well as soon as it comes out.
I will continue to pray for the Living Stones in Israel and in Palestine. will you join me?