Dialogika

Israel, Palestinians & Mid-East

Action on Palestinian Kairos Document & Bishop Younan's Response

[From the ELCA Website]

The following action was passed by the 2011 Churchwide Assembly (CWA) at its meeting in Orlando by a vote of 868-73. This action is in line with the original strategy for engagement in Israel and Palestine adopted in 2005. It is a call to receive, share and prayfully consider the voices of our Palestinian brothers and sisters and contained in the Kairos Palestine document.

Action of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly

Passed August 18, 2011

To receive with gratitude the memorials of the Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lower Susquehanna, and Metropolitan Washington, D.C., synods related to investment for positive change in Palestine;

To encourage members, congregations, synods, and agencies of this church to:

  1. seek ways to achieve a deeper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the perspectives of other faith communities, and receive, read, and discuss the Kairos Palestine document as an “authentic word from our brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Christian community” that “warrants our respect and attentiveness”;

  2. affirm this church’s commitment to non-violent responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the Peace Not Walls campaign’s efforts toward strengthening accompaniment, awareness-building, and advocacy; and

  3. consider making positive economic investments in those Palestinian projects and businesses that peacefully strengthen the economic and social fabric of Palestinian society;

To commend the policy, “ELCA Economic Social Criteria Investment Screens,” to the members, congregations, synods, and agencies of this church; and

To decline to undertake a review of the investment of funds managed within the ELCA but to commend these recommendations to the Office of the Treasurer, the Office of the Secretary, the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit, the Mission Advancement unit, and the ELCA Board of Pensions for consideration.

Response of Bishop Munib Younan to Churchwide Assembly Action

Dear friends in the ELCA,

Thank you for your continued and reaffirmed commitment of the ELCA to justice in Palestine and Israel. The ELCA has been a faithful accompanier on the journey, and the passionate work and witness of our companions strengthens us.

As the ELCA moves forward from this Assembly action, I urge the ELCA to remain careful in its decisions as to how it chooses to promote peace. As you know, it is not always the loudest voice that elicits the greatest change. Sometimes it is the patient and perseverant who bring about great change through diligent but quiet work.

I encourage the ELCA to invest in clear and accessible resources for ELCA congregations that encourage awareness-building, accompaniment and advocacy at the individual and personal level.

I encourage the ELCA to continue to advocate for synodical, congregational and personal visits to the Holy Land to witness the situation first-hand, to visit with us, their Lutheran sisters and brothers and to be a part of the deep roots and broad mission of the ELCJHL.

I also encourage the ELCA to continue its support of the ELCJHL, its ministries and its mission, and to continue its investment in education through the ELCJHL Schools.

So that, together in awareness-building, accompaniment, and advocacy, we continue our work toward lasting peace based on justice for all.

Your Brother in Christ,

Bishop Munib A. Younan
Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land