There's an old saying that you don't really know someone until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. And there's a song you might have heard in your church, "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked." Whether either the saying or the song was thought of when the upcoming event was being planned, I don't know, but either of them would have been fitting. This conference is designed to give the participants a better understanding of the land - both history and geography - and the people of Israel/Palestine, as well as how our faith informs and shapes our beliefs and behaviors toward the people there. This conference has been planned for months, but with the most recent violence there, it couldn't be more timely. Hopefully, with our new understanding and insight, we will find ways to be more effective in bringing about a more just and lasting peace there.
Some people think all Palestinians are terrorists, or Muslims, or both. But there are Palestinians there who are Christians in many different kinds of churches, including Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant., including the United Methodist Church.
The UMC has 4 persons working in Israel/Palestine with our General Board of Global Ministries. One of these , Rev. Alex Awad, will be one of our keynote speakers. Another speaker will be Rev. Mike Slaughter, senior pastor the Ginghamsburg Church, one of the largest and fastest-growing UM Churches in the US. Also speaking will be Lynne Hybels, co-founder of the Willow Creek Church near Chicago. The general secretary and top executive of the General Board of Global Ministries Thomas Kemper, will also speak.
Other guests include The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, the new General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, and three of our UMC bishops, as well as other UMC officials and Palestinian Christians.
While we won't be actually walking in Israel/Palestine, we will listen to, talk to, and learn more about the lives of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and then be better able to work together to solve problems there with love, justice and peace.
The event will be August 7-8, 2014, in Tipp City, Ohio, near Dayton, at the Ginghamsburg Church. Immediately following this conference will be an optional second conference at the same place called the United Methodist Kairos Response Summit, lasting til Saturday afternoon, August 9.
There is some SCHOLARSHIP money available. Contact RG Lyons at email@example.com for more information.
The Advocacy for Social Justice Blog is produced by the North Alabama Conference Advocacy for Social Justice Team to help people think about justice issues through the lens of faith. It is intended to be a place where United Methodists can listen and learn from each other with mutual respect and understanding. (For the purpose of this blog see the the post “The work of justice is the work of the church”.) Please join the conversation by adding your comment below. If you have an idea for a blog topic or would like to make a submission to the Advocacy for Social Justice Blog please contact the Team Convenor Rev. R.G. Wilson-Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org.