On Wednesday,July 8th,MFSA & UMKR present Responsible Tourism in the Holy Land: Organize , Promote and Participate in Comprehensive Pilgrimage Tours
Learn from three experts in organizing church tours:
WHAT is in the United Methodist "Holy Land Tours" resolution. HOW to include those UMC guidelines, when planning your trip. HOWto find comprehensive tours or organize your own. WHAT to make sure your trip includes, whether you are a trip leader or a participant. HOW to promote a comprehensive pilgrimage with clergy and laity. WHAT to look for and ask when selecting a tour agency. HOW to travel safely in uncertain times, in the air and on the ground. HOW to stay connected after you return home, and become a responsible advocate for justice and peace in the Holy Land.
Rev. Joan Deminghas spent 11 years with Pilgrims of Ibillin, a nonprofit that supports Mar Elias Educational Institutions and other organizations in Palestine. Since 2009, she has led the "Living Stones Pilgrimages" to Israel/Palestine, visiting holy sites and meeting with peacemakers in Israel and the West Bank. Deming also works in partnership with Wi’am, the Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center in Bethlehem.
Elias Ghareebis a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem. He studied management and tourism at Bethlehem University, and holds a B.A in Biblical studies from Bethlehem Bible College. He began working in the tourism sector as a tour guide and tour operator in the 1990s. In 2009 he opened Grace Tours, a family-run, licensed tour agency, concentrating on pilgrimage and study tours.
Janet Lahr Lewisis a retired General Board of Global Ministries missionary of the United Methodist Church. She moved to Israel/Palestine in 1994, working as a volunteer until 2001, when she was commissioned by GBGM. In 2006 she was appointed UM Liaison in Palestine and Israel, a position she held until 2014 when she returned to the U.S. Janet was then appointed as the UMC’s Advocacy Coordinator for the Middle East as well as Peace with Justice Program Associate in Washington, DC. Since her retirement in 2018, Janet continues to organize pilgrimages and study tours for the UMC and other denominations.
HOSTED by Bridget Cabrera, MFSA Executive Director MODERATED byRev. John Wagner, UMKR Co-Chair
End U.S. funding for brutality against Palestinians. Invest in Justice!
CUFI is Christians United for Israel, the largest organization within the Israel Lobby. That coalition pushes for the United States to invest more and more tax dollars in weapons for Israel, despite the Israeli military's continual human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Claiming over seven million members, CUFI uses its political clout to ensure unconditional U.S. support for Israeli crimes against Palestinians: imprisoning hundreds of children per year, destroying villages to confiscate their land, bombing schools and hospitals in Gaza, and killing unarmed protestors.
CUFI is a Christian Zionist organization that teaches a deeply harmful theology, promoting policies that are entrenched in white nationalism and systemic racism.
As people of faith and people of conscience, we must stand up to bigotry and racial violence. We MUST confront racists when they use bible passages and religious language as justification for ethnic cleansing and cruel oppression.
TWO EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS ONE: Last week, thirteen US legislators released a Dear Colleague Letter to Secretary of State Pompeo about Israel's threat to formally annex occupied Palestinian territory this summer. (Governments and leaders around the world have been warning that Israeli annexation would be an unconscionable flouting of international law and Palestinian rights, and the consequences could be dire.) In this letter spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the legislators state they intend to ensure US tax dollars “are not supporting annexation in any way.”
As JVP Actionput it, this letter “stands apart from the crowd of many previous weaker Congressional statements in response to Israel’s plans to annex parts of the Palestinian West Bank. Signers of the letter are demanding action from Pompeo...and making a bold commitment to condition the $3.8 billion in funding we send to the Israeli military every year.”
The full list of signers includes: Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Jayapal, McCollum, Tlaib, Carson, Davis, Garcia, Grijalva, Omar, Pressley, Rush, Velázquez, and Senator Bernie Sanders.
TWO: On July 2, Senator Chris Van Hollen introduced an amendment to a crucial bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); the amendment is titled: “Prohibiting U.S. Funds from Supporting Israeli Annexation of the West Bank." This legislation is expected to come up for a vote this month.
On the Senate floor, Van Hollen said: "I do not believe that the United States government and the United States taxpayer should be aiding and abetting Prime Minister Netanyahu's plan to unilaterally annex the West Bank."
These are remarkable actions by US legislators. For so many years, thousands of advocates like you have spoken up for Palestinian rights, and those faithful efforts are beginning show results in Congress.
It is time to speak up again! Tell your legislators: Say "No" to Israeli annexation and "Yes" to Israeli accountability: ▼ CLICK THE RED BUTTON▼ You will review the message before sending it.
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We need a little more help from our friends. General Conference has been re-scheduled for 2021, which is closer than we think. UMKR still has BIG plans to reach thousands who will be attending, with national speakers, bold witness actions, compelling graphic materials, and an interactive display for visitors to learn about Palestinian rights! But these things can't happen unless we get help from supporters who believe in this work.
Please give whatever you are able; it will be gratefully received.
UMKR is an independent grassroots movement in our church, not an official body of the denomination. So we must depend on individual donors to keep our justice work going. Your donation is fully tax-deductible.
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UMKR is an international grassroots movement of laity and clergy in the United Methodist Church. We are responding to the Palestinian Christians' urgent call, in Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth, for effective action to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace in the Holy Land. OUR GOAL: UMKR seeks – through nonviolent action and in partnership with the Christians of Palestine – freedom, equality, and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis. Learn more about UMKR
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