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Ramallah Friends Meeting (Quakers)
Annual Newsletter 2017

Reflections on 30 Years of Service

Middle East Yearly Meeting Renewed

The Spiritual Benefits of Picking Up Trash

Quaker Peace Building Calendar

Main Street, Then & Now

Love and Peace will Prevail: A Video

Welcome Quaker Voluntary Action!

Steadfast Together
We Encourage One Another:
Reflections on 30 Years of Service to RFM
Jean at the World Council of Churches' launch of its decade of "Churches in Solidarity with Women" in 1988.
Jean Zaru began her volunteer service as Clerk of Ramallah Friends Meeting in 1987. Prior to responding to this leading she was president of the YWCA Jerusalem and vice-president of the World YWCA, as well as a teacher of religion & ethics at the Ramallah Friends School. Jean was also a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and served on the interfaith dialogue group of the Middle East Council of Churches, in addition to raising three children in the Meeting.

A hallmark of Jean's public ministry has been its inclusivity. She holds together both Friends and the wider interfaith community; the local and the global; the earth and all its inhabitants. Her theology of non-violence, articulated as a woman living under prolonged oppression, has been ground-breaking. Her vision of a rights-based, structural transformation of society has inspired countless.
Jean's Reflections on this occasion:

"My focus during this time has been on the transformation of structures. We must challenge systems which diminish our humanity, while honoring each and every person. Even after experiencing these long years of occupation, I do not wish for a transfer of power from one to the other; rather, power should be channeled as a force for equality and love.

"Militarism is the cause of so much of the turmoil the world experiences today. It is an evil affecting everyone, in some way. What we truly need, in its place, is a wider and deeper exchange with one another and between communites.

"We desperately need to encourage one another through the building of community.We need love; we need beauty; and we need encouragement. How else can we carry on?

"Community breaks down fears, crosses boundaries and walls. Growing communities of life is the path to instinctively loving our neighbor. It truly can become reflexive, a way of life, a way of living. In true community, we encourage and embolden one another.

"Friends, let us be inclusive in our spirituality. Never to use difference to isolate ourselves or others. Let us be steadfast in the breaking of bread together and in transforming life."
The Meeting members are profoundly grateful to Jean and give thanks that she will continue her ministry in Ramallah, undergirding the vibrancy of the Meeting's other ministries while Saleem assumes the responsibilities of clerk.

Has Jean or the Ramallah Friends Meeting touched your life? You are invited to write a tribute on the blog post of this article here and, if you feel so led, to make a donation . 
Middle East Yearly Meeting Renewed
Brummana Monthly Meeting in Lebanon and Ramallah Monthly Meeting are on the road to renewing regular gatherings!

Together, these two meetings comprise the Middle East Yearly Meeting. Due to war and travel restrictions, they have unfortunately not met face- to-face for over 25 years.

Initial discussions took place between the respective clerks in August and plans were made for an initial exchange later this autumn. At that time, Saleem will travel to Brummana to attend Meeting for Worship and meet its members.

An exciting way has opened which we hope leads to a full gathering of the Middle East Yearly Meeting in the near future!
Brummana Friends Meeting House in Brummana, Lebanon. The Meeting was formed in 1873.

The Spiritual Benefits of Picking Up Trash
by Saleem Zaru, Clerk
Reflections on growing up in the Ramallah Friends Meeting and how we might till a garden of faith in today's world. 

It’s 10 o’clock in the morning [1965]. Sunday School has just drawn to a close. In about half an hour, friends will begin to gather for Meeting for Worship...
"Saleem, go to Abu Nassar. See if he can spare an empty cardboard box”, asked my father as he began to pick up the trash that had been thrown from Main Street by passersby’s into the front yard of the Meeting House...

...After some time, I came to realize that I was paying too high of a price just to avoid picking up trash. I gave in. I stopped walking home by myself and stayed to pick up trash, all in order to be a part of the life of the Meeting... 

"...Today, as I reflect back on my early years, my memories return with ease. It seems that every stage of my childhood has some form of meaningful connection to this place, this meeting, this community...

"Friends, wherever you might be, I am with you in spirit. I am grateful for your presence and your perseverance. For those few steadfast faithful who continue the spiritual practice of picking up trash and have even begun to till the garden: you inspire me!

" Your patience and friendship inspires this Meeting to tend the garden of faith –not knowing the future, yet trusting in the One who holds the future. I thank those who never gave up, especially my mother.

" I trust we will continue to be inspired with a vision of service towards preparing the ground for a culture of peace and nonviolence."

Saleem Zaru, Clerk of Ramallah Friends Meeting.
Photographs were regularly taken at the rise of Meeting for Worship throughout the 1960's. 
  The Meeting's front yard today.
A garden of peace, a garden of faith. 
Quaker Peace-building in Art : 2018 Calendar
The beautiful quilt hanging in the Ramallah Meeting House is featured is this high quality wall calendar (30cm x 30 cm), celebrating peace-building and art works by Quakers around the world.

The calendar and image for each month, are accompanied by a short inspirational text. A brief commentary introduces the art in English, Spanish and French.
This first of its kind calendar is currently available for order on the FWCC website .

When outlets in other countries become available, information will be posted.

Copies will be available for sale at the Ramallah Meeting beginning in late October of this year. Contact us to reserve your calendar at info.rfmq@gmail.com .
Main Street, Then & Now
by Deborah First

1910: "From its elevated position may be seen the far-away mountains of Moab, fertile valleys to the south and a long stretch of the white sands of the beach and the blue waters of the Mediterranean down toward the far-famed Philistine City of Gaza. (The Ramallah Messenger, Vol. 7, No. 2 1910)
Today: Main Street as it leads into Manara Circle. If you step out of the front gate of the Meeting House, turn left and walk a few paces, this will be your view.
Everyone who has come to the Friends Meeting in Ramallah feels it: the stories in the stones, the echoes of ministries spoken and lived out daily, the certainty of refuge in a time of fear and the courage of resistance embedded in the very walls.

Friends visiting Ramallah often share stories about the life in front of them “on the street”. That’s Main Street, if you aren’t sure, or sometimes it’s called Rukab street. It's where today, you will find...

Love and Peace will Prevail:
A New Resource by Jean Zaru

Love and Peace will Prevail is the first in the 12 part series #SeekJusticeAndPeace in the Holy Land, produced by the World Council of Churches.

Jean offers a brief meditation through word and video. It is an ideal length for use as a query to begin a discussion or workshop.

"My hope is that love will prevail. There is no life without love--only waste, strife, madness and destruction. We must find the way of truth, understanding, justice, and peace; otherwise, we will destroy others and ourselves.

"With love comes peace.

"Peace is a state of respect, cooperation and well-being. It’s the presence of social justice and the absence of war, poverty, hunger and oppression...

Welcome: Quaker Voluntary Action  
For eight years- sometimes twice yearly - QVA volunteers have offered their listening presence, their olive-harvesting hands and their open hearts to Palestine. Each visit is grounded in time spent with Ramallah Friends Meeting where shared worship, work and dialogue brought each group more deeply into solidarity with the Meeting’s mission of being a welcoming presence, a Light on the hill and a voice for the voiceless.

This fall we look forward to welcoming another work trip. You are invited to read a lovely reflection from a past trip leader here. It speaks to the power of "Bearing Witness, Becoming Agents of Change in the World."
Steadfast Together
Together we encourage one another. Together we grow community. Together we remain steadfast.

Stay connected with Ramallah Friends by following us on Facebook and visiting our website . On it you will find our bi-annual letters; yearly epistles; in addition to frequent meditations, queries and articles.

Encourage us with your comments and posts. We would love to hear from you!

General inquires

Plan a visit

Communicate with Saleem clerk.rfmq@gmail.com

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Wherever you are in the world, 
you are an important part of the 
Ramallah Friends Meeting community!
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