December 8, 2021
In this season of Advent, alongside the shortening of the days comes the anticipation of Christmas -- -the power of hope in the face of darkness. As we do every year, we present the annual Christmas Alert from Palestine. This year's Alert year is overflowing with reflections and reports from church leaders, and just as if not more important, reports from the ground from young Palestinians. They demonstrate with their lives and testimony the meaning of resistance and faith, and determination.

As we come to the close of the year, we turn to developments in the global network, in this issue highlighting the impressive achievements in the UK. As we have in the past, we'll be sending out a newsletter weekly through this month. Alongside news and information as we wrap up the year will be appeals for financial support. You'll see it further along in the newsletter, but you can take a shortcut, make your donation now, and read on!
This year the Christmas Alert includes stories and reflections from Palestinians from across Palestine -- the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, Arab Palestinians in Israel (1948 Palestinians), and the diaspora. Each story gives a powerful account of life inside or outside Palestine, and highlights the unity in struggle, resistance and hope. We hear from church leaders, grassroots activists in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, and from young Palestinians -- in diaspora, in the limbo of statelessness in the West Bank, and in the besieged and stalwart enclave of Gaza. Download the Christmas Alert.
Inspiring Reports from the UK
In October we published a report on a groundbreaking motion passed by the Carlisle England Diocesan Synod challenging Christian Zionism and undertaking an examination of church investment in Israel. "This is the first time," wrote Karen Fairfax-Cholmeley of Sabeel-Kairos UK and Global Kairos for Justice, "that our church activists in the UK have received support from senior members of the church hierarchy. It gives us a model of how we can approach other dioceses." Read the full report on the motion. You can also watch the deliberations, including powerful testimony from Synod members, including Synod Bishop the Rt Rev James Newcome, beginning at 1:46.
Answering the Cry, Summoning the Church
The Carlisle motion is the fruit of persistent grassroots efforts on the part of our activist colleagues in the UK. This past year the focus has been to bring together church laypersons, clergy and leadership with Palestinian theologians, clergy and activists to study and consider the 2020 “Cry for Hope.” As promised in our last newsletter, we bring you detailed reports of two programs. They both provide outstanding models for action and programming.

Designed and implemented by Sabeel-Kairos UK, both programs followed the first action specified in "Cry for Hope: "Initiate processes at local, denominational and ecumenical levels that recognize the present kairos and the urgent requirement for decisive action regarding the denial of Palestinian rights and the misuse of the Bible." The programs engaged the active participation of church clergy and laypersons -- one at an Anglican cathedral in the Midlands of England, and one reaching out to clergy from across the country.
Engaging Church Leaders and Members
A unique UK program emerging from "Cry for Hope" illustrates the importance of direct outreach to church leadership. Between November 2020 and February 2020, Sabeel-Kairos UK ran six virtual seminars for between ten and fifteen clergy and church members from across the country and two or three Palestinian speakers. Clergy and lay people responded enthusiastically to the invitation to join one of the seminars.

"We knew we had to come up with a strategy for moving the substantial grassroots support for Palestine further up the church hierarchy and find ways to challenge church leaders more directly to act." write Karen Fairfax-Cholmeney and Charlotte Marshall of Sabeel-Kairos UK and Global Kairos for Justice. Read Cry for Hope: Engaging support from church leaders and members in the UK for their detailed account of this program.

The work of Sabeel-Kairos UK demonstrates how persistent efforts at the grassroots results in meaningful movement at the top levels of the churches. An example are the powerful resolutions passed in June 2021 by the Methodist Church of England to commend "Cry for Hope," document Israel's actions to prevent a Palestinian state and deny Palestinian citizens in Israel equal rights, and to call on the British government to end military support for Israel while these violations of international law are ongoing. Download the Sabeel-Kairos UK Annual Advocacy Report: 2020-2021 for a complete review of the organization's activities and their results.
It Begins with You

The work of our global community depends on information flowing across the network and on the strength of the connection between groups and organizations operating at local, national, denominational and ecumenical levels. Kairos USA, through and the "Celebrating our Global Community" newsletter brings you these stories, linking the global community through information, news and tools for advancing the work of our movement. Please support this work with a donation today.
Advent 2020: Out of Bethlehem a Cry
Imagine a medieval cathedral in England given over to a vigil for Palestine: stations for reflection and symbolic action; a 20-minute film featuring examples of resistance; an icon by Bethlehem artists of the weeping Madonna who ‘breaks down walls; an exhibit of photographs depicting life behind the separation wall alongside excerpts of "Cry for Hope." 

This was the scene at Lichfield Cathedral in England on a Sunday in Advent in 2020. Close to 100 people attended. Sixty three signed the "Cry for Hope" petition and left their contact information. "It was a powerful combination of word music, symbol, silence with a clear message and challenge to respond. writes Sabeel-Kairos UK's Warren Barsdley. Dean of the Lichfield Cathedral Adrian Lorber of Lichfield gave over the full resources of the Cathedral and his active time in the planning and carrying out of the event. "We felt that it might provide a template which could be used elsewhere." Read Warren Bardsley's report, download the beautiful 3-page leaflet, and read a full description of the Bethlehem Vigil program.
Palestine Portal is a program of Kairos USA. Support our work by making a gift today. Donate online or by check to Kairos USA, 1815 NW 27th Ave., Portland OR 97210.
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