News

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 July Prayers

July 27, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 July 2017 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to the ELCJHL for contributing to this month's prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 July 2017

Prayer Focus: Family Reunification

Israel’s residency policy has left Palestinian families divided, spouses living apart, and children in single-family homes. Couples in which one of the spouses is a resident of the Occupied Territories (Israel) and the other a resident of the West Bank or Gaza, must choose between two options: One option is that the resident spouse leaves the Occupied Territories and the couple lives together abroad. Because Israel does not grant the West Bank/Gaza Palestinian spouse a due process toward legal status, the West Bank/Gaza spouse will never have a legal chance to live with their loved one in the Occupied Territories.  The other option, available when the West Bank/Gaza spouse is already in the Occupied Territories, is to have the spouse live there without a legal status, as well. In this situation, the couple and their children must live in hiding, in constant fear of deportation, arrest, and fines.

B’Tselem

***

Scripture:

Matthew 19:6

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Genesis 21:17

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 God was with the boy as he grew up. 

Exodus 4:18

Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in Peace.”

Prayers:

Holy God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus Christ your son,

Look with compassion upon the whole human family.

Take away the arrogance and hatred that infects our hearts,

Break down the walls that leave families separated.

Unite us in bonds of love, your love, marital love, and the love of family,

So that in unity we can accomplish the work You have begun.

Today we pray for the sanctity of marriage,

We pray for Palestinian children who do not have the loving embrace of both parents.

We pray for the freedom to love despite residency boundaries.

We pray for those who make decisions that tear families apart,

So that they may come to know your love reflected in the family.

Strengthen our families so that they may grow together and become instruments to peace and justice for Palestine. Keep us steadfast in prayer, in advocacy, and in action. 

Amen. 

***

Opportunities for Advocacy

Listed here are a few sources that invite you to advocate for an end to family unification freezes:

Defense for Children International Palestine

Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Find a PDF version of the Prayers here: 24 July 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 June Prayers

June 29, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 June 2017 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 June 2017

 Prayer Focus: The Annexation of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been and continues to be one of the most contentious issues related to the 50 year military occupation of Palestine. Following the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem to its territory, in contravention of international law. Palestinians who were living in Jerusalem were given the status of “permanent residents” of Israel. This residency typically provides them with greater freedom of movement than Palestinians from other parts of the oPt and allows them to pay into the social services system to receive health and social security coverage. However, this status can be revoked on various grounds, denying the affected residents their right to live in the oPt, including East Jerusalem (UN OCHA oPt). East Jerusalem is physically isolated from the rest of the West Bank by the Separation Barrier, restricting movement, resource access, employment, and economic activity for Palestinians. In this 50th year of occupation, we pray for a solution to this prolonged injustice and for the continued hope and perseverance of all those working for peace.

Read more about the effects of the occupation on occupied East Jerusalem here:

https://www.ochaopt.org/location/east-jerusalem

http://www.btselem.org/jerusalem

http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/wall-and-jerusalem

Prayers

Lament

(Normal Font: Leader, Bold Font: All)

Give us a voice

and we will cry out.

We will raise our voices to sing

Our feet will dance

Wherever there are signs of life around us.

Give us a voice

and we will sob.

Weeping with your world,

like a child holding a broken treasure,

a child that will not be comforted:

 

weeping at the divisions and separations of churches and our communities;

weeping at misused powers that oppress others and destroy the earth;

weeping at the brokenness of our lives;

weeping with those who lost their loved ones because of wars and conflicts;

weeping with refugees and displaced people;

weeping with the abused and unloved children and youth;

weeping with those who are discriminated against;

weeping with the hungry and the thirsty as they search for a just peace.

Give us a voice to name truth

and expose falsehood;

to encourage the downhearted

and confront the powers.

Give us a voice that speaks with passion

and a voice full of compassion.

A voice that is gentle

and a voice that knows when to be angry.

When there is no word to convey our grief and anger,

and when we cannot pray,

help us to believe

that the Spirit groans with us and intercedes for us.

Give us a voice,

and we will proclaim the living Christ.

Voices buried deep will shout out.

Voices that have been submerged will emerge.

Voices that have never been heard will be raised.

Even stones will cry out.

We hear the words of the Spirit of Christ whispering to us.

 

Keep the dream alive.

Watch and wait.

One day I will return.

One day justice will flow like a river.

And I will establish peace for you.

Amen.

Lament from the WCC Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land, 2017

Full order of service can be found here:

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/spiritual-life/pentecost-ecumenical-prayer-for-unity-and-just-peace-pentecost-2017

Please find a printable version of the prayers here: 24 June 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 May Prayers

May 24, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 May 2017 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every month Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to DSPR-NECC for contributing to this month’s prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 May 2017

 Prayer Focus: Gaza Blockade

Since October 2000, the Gaza Strip has been subjected to a continuous but fluctuating blockade. The blockade was reinforced and enhanced to unprecedented levels in the 2-3 years that followed the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2006/2007. The blockade entailed both the movement of goods and individuals.

In 2016, the volume of goods entering Gaza was at the same level as 2007, falling short of meeting the demands of the increasing population. The volume of goods exported was just 20% the amount exported in 2007. The restrictions on exports increase the vulnerability of Gaza’s economy by weakening its production base. After the war of 2014, restrictions were imposed on the entry of construction materials needed for the reconstruction of the intensive damages encountered by private and public assets in Gaza. Such restrictions slow the recovery process and extend the suffering of thousands of families who lost their houses during the war.

The number of Palestinians leaving Gaza via Israel on daily basis (460 people) is only 2% the figure in September 2000 (OCHA, 2016). The blockade targets the population of the Gaza Strip without exceptions. A significant percentage, more than 35%, of patients applying for permits for medical reasons were denied access. Humanitarian actors, especially the Palestinian staff, are increasingly being denied access out of Gaza through Israel (OCHA 2016).

Israel is still prohibiting Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands that are within 300 meters from the Israel/Gaza borders, making farmers poorer and depriving Gaza from cultivating significant parts of its arable lands, essential for its food security. Similarly, fishermen are only allowed to fish within 6 nautical miles from Gaza’s shore, which is less than one third of the fishing area established in the Oslo Accords.

These numerous restrictions have resulted in making the unemployment rates rise to above 40% and the poverty reached around 40% (PCBS 2016). About 47% of the population in Gaza Strip suffers severe food insecurity. And, more than 70% of the population depends differentially on aid (OCHA 2016).

OCHA. November 2016. The Gaza Strip: The Humanitarian Impacts of the Blockade. United Nations Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs. https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-strip-humanitarian-impact-blockade-november-2016.

PCBS. Palestine in Figures 2015. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/Downloads/book2188.pdf

Prayers

Prayer for Peace

Almighty God and Creator, You are the Father of all people on the earth. Guide, I pray, all the nations and their leaders in the ways of justice and peace. Protect us from the evils of injustice, prejudice, exploitation, conflict, and war. Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness, and hatred. Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war. Lead us to find peace, respect, and freedom. Unite us in the making and sharing of tools of peace against ignorance, poverty, disease, and oppression. Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters created in Your image, to Your honor and praise.

Amen.

Special Ecumenical Prayer on 5 June 2017

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on Christians worldwide to join in prayer for just peace in the Holy Land by taking part in a Pentecost prayer service. The WCC has developed a service for the “The Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land” to be used by churches and communities of faith all over the globe on 5 June 2017.

 

The Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, stated “To pray for unity is our calling as an ecumenical family. To pray for peace in the Hold Land, and particularly in Jerusalem at this time, is an affirmation of our commitment to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and our long history of engagement for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel. We support the member churches in the region in their witness and ministry, and we encourage member churches around the world to act in prayer and solidarity for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel.”

 

More information and resources for this service can be found here:

 http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/wcc-calls-for-prayer-for-just-peace-in-the-holy-land

 

 A printable PDF version of the prayers can be found here.

 

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 April Prayers

April 25, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 April 2017 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.
 

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 April 2017

 Prayer Focus: Illegality of the Occupation

On 6 May 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 58/292 which “affirms that the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation, and affirms, in accordance with the rules and principles of international law and relevant resolutions of the United Nations, including Security Council resolutions, that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over their territory…” The Resolution also “expresses its determination to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a just and comprehensive negotiated peace settlement in the Middle East resulting in two viable, sovereign and independent States, Israel and Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and living side by side in peace and security.” According to ACT Alliance member, Diakonia, “the practices of the Occupying Power, Israel, raise serious concerns under international law, not only under IHL (International Humanitarian Law) and IHRL (International Human Rights Law), due to the erosion of the basic protections and practices of acquisition and annexation of territory, in clear contravention of the central notions of modern public international law.” Since the adoption of this resolution in 2004, tension and violence have remained present, human rights have continued to be violated, and hope in a just and timely end to the occupation has waned. This month, we pray for the upholding of international law in Palestine and Israel and for all those who suffer under the ongoing illegal occupation. Read the resolution here. Read more about the work of Diakonia here.

Prayers

Gracious God, grant peace. Cleanse from our own hearts the seeds of strife; greed and envy, harsh misunderstandings and ill will, fear and desire for revenge. Make us quick to welcome ventures in cooperation among the peoples of the world, so that there may be woven the fabric of a common good too strong to be torn by the evil hands of war. In the time of opportunity, make us be diligent; and in the time of peril, let not our courage fail. Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer. Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may move every human heart; that the barriers dividing us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; and that, with our divisions healed, we might live in justice and peace. Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer. Look with mercy, gracious God, upon people everywhere who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Rouse us from our complacency and help us to elmiate cruelty wherever it is found. Strengthen those who seek equality for all. Grant that everyone may enjoy a fair portion of the abundance of the earth. Lord, in your mercy; hear our prayer. O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son. Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and, through our struggle and confusion, work to accomplish your purposes on earth. We pray all of this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Prayers adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  

Additional Meditation

Canticle of the Turning

Text: Rory Cooney, based on the Magnificat

Music: Irish Traditional

My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great,

And my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.

You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn,

So from east west shall my name be blest.

Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.

From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone.

Let the king beware for your justice tears every tyrant from his throne.

The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn;

There are tables spread, every mouth be fed,

For the world is about to turn.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast:

God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp.

This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound,

Till the spear and rod can be crushed by God,

Who is turning the world around.

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.

24 Apr 2017 Prayer Vigil  

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 March Prayers

March 24, 2017 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 March 2017 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to DSPR – NECC Gaza for contributing to this month’s prayers.

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 March 2017

 Prayer Focus: Health Updates and Health Care Access in Gaza

An estimated 1.1 million people in Gaza are in need of humanitarian health and nutrition interventions. The health system in Gaza is operating under severe pressure due to the effects of the occupation, blockade, internal Palestinian divide, rapid population growth, and lack of adequate financial resources and shortages in basic supplies. The years of blockade and movement restrictions on people and materials, including medical resources, has led to a serious deterioration in the availability and quality of health services. The population size will grow to 2.227 million in 2020 with very high fertility rates[1]. This would increase the constraints on the health care system.

Infant mortality rate which is a proxy indicator for the socioeconomic and health status shows an increase at 22.5 per 1000 live birth; a worrying increases that hasn’t been reported for decades[2].  Also, still birth and prematurity level are increasing[3].

Efforts should focus on improving the quality of reproductive health services and addressing gaps especially around the perinatal period when most neonatal and maternal mortalities and morbidities develop. There is a need to increase the number of available intensive care incubators. Also, the current shortage in specialized neonatologists, pediatric intensive care specialists and fine subspecialties such as pediatric oncology, endocrinology, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons and genetics require bridging to meet the current and future needs[4].

Health report from MOH and UNRWA also indicate an increase in the incidence of infectious diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis and meningitis which are attributed to bad sanitation and inappropriate hygienic practices[5]. At the same time, non-communicable diseases are escalating and constituting the main causes of death among the population particularly heart diseases, oncology, vascular diseases and injuries.  This puts more strain on the already exhausted system[6].

More than half of the 11,000 MOH staff employed by the Gaza de facto authorities have not been paid in full for several years. The 2014 conflict added further strain to the health sector, the effects of which are still being felt. Handicap International has identified 2,090 people (1,411 males and 679 females) with injuries that require rehabilitation and 4,385 persons with disabilities (2,399 males 1,986 females) as particularly vulnerable[7].  The prevalence of congenital anomalies which are also associated with disability is at the increasing trend[8].

MOH, UNRWA and NGOs reported a dramatic increase in cases of psychological trauma especially among children who are in need of psychological support[9]. In Gaza, anemia rates are higher than in oPt as a whole.  For several years, more than one third of preschool children in Gaza are anemic, while more than 70% of pregnant women in Gaza are anemic[10].

Fuel shortage and prolonged electricity cuts has also impacted health facilities and medical equipment. Together with shortages of essential drugs, medical spare parts and disposables, this has increased the need for referral of patients outside of Gaza. The virtual closure of the Rafah border has however had a serious impact on referrals – only 148 out of 1,087 referred patients crossed during the first nine months of 2015[11]. Access to hospitals in Egypt can literally be a life and death issue for many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, vital for those who cannot be treated within Gaza and who have been denied or are ineligible for access to Israeli or West Bank health facilities through Erez. Of the patients who applied for a permit to cross Erez, 50% were denied and 60% of families who accompany the referred patients were denied also.  This creates accessibility problem to health services that should be addressed by all parties.

Prayers

By your power, great God, Jesus healed the sick and gave new hope to the hopeless. Though we cannot command or possess your power, we pray for healing. Mend wounds, soothe fevered brows, and make broken people whole again.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord Christ, you came into the world as one of us and suffered as we do. As we go through the trials of life, help us to realize that you are with us at all times and that your loving grace enfolds us for eternity.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving God, your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation. Pour out your Spirit on all people living with illness for which there is no cure, as well as their families and loved ones. Help them to know that you claim them as your own and deliver them from fear and pain.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful God, your healing power is everywhere about us. Strengthen those who work among the sick; give them courage and confidence in all they do. Encourage them when their efforts seem futile or when death prevails. Increase their trust in your power even to overcome death and pain and crying. May they be thankful for every sign of health you give and humble before the mystery of your healing grace.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace. Grant to us, your children, an awareness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace.

Through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Prayers adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

[1] UNFPA (2016) Palestine 2030Demographic Transition in Palestine and What it Means for Development.

[2] Maartje, et al (2015) Increasing Neonatal Mortality among Palestine Refugees in the Gaza Strip

[3] MOH (2016), Mortality Report. MOH

[4]  See note one 1

[5] MOH (2015), Health status of the Palestinian population

[6] See note number 3

[7] OCHA (2016), Humanitarian Needs Overview

[8] UNFPA (2016) see note 1

[9] MOH (2015) see note 5

[10] MOH (2014), Strategic Health plan

[11] See note 7

Please find a printable PDF version of the prayers here: 24 March 2017 Prayer Vigil.

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 February Prayers

February 24, 2017 –

24 February 2017

ACT Palestine Forum Prayer Focus:

"Settler Violence”

Background:  

Settler violence endangers the lives of Palestinians, but also wreaks havoc on the land, and destroys or endangers olive trees which are often many hundreds of years old.

 “Israeli civilians have perpetrated various forms of violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, damaging their lands, their persons and their property. In recent years, settlers have carried out violent acts under the slogan “price tag.” B'Tselem has documented many such acts including the blocking of roads, throwing stones at cars and houses, making incursions into Palestinian villages and land, torching fields, uprooting trees, and other damage to property.”

B’Tselem

***

Scripture:

Psalm 24:1-2

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,

the world, and those who live in it;

for he has founded it on the seas,

and established it on the rivers.

Revelation 22:1-2

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

***

Prayers:

Leader: Holy God, in the beginning you created the heavens and the earth

All: And you called it good.

L: The earth is yours, and all that is in it,

A: The world, and those who live in it.

L: And yet, through human greed, carelessness, and violence,

A: Your good creation is destroyed.

L: Today we pray for the land called holy, caught in an unholy conflict.

A: We pray for Palestinian communities threatened by settlements and settler violence.

L: We pray for farmers who cannot reach their olive groves, for families whose land has been stolen, and for children who live in fear of attacks.

A: We pray for the land itself, for water, for animals, for the environment which suffers after fifty years of military occupation.

L: And we pray for the olive trees: proud symbol of Palestine, strong and resilient, steadfast and true, bearing fruit even in the harshest conditions.

A: Give us the sumud (صمود) of the olive trees. Strengthen our commitment to peace and justice for Palestine. Keep us steadfast in prayer, in advocacy, and in action. Like a tree standing by the water—we shall not be moved.

Amen.

***

Suggested Music:

"The Olive Tree" by Rima Nasir Tarazi

Opportunities for Advocacy:

“The core task of all good spirituality is to teach us to “cooperate” with what God already wants to do and has already begun to do through us.” - Fr. Richard Rohr

Listed here are a few sources that invite you to advocate an end to settler violence against Palestinians and the land:

Yesh Din Foundation: http://www.yesh-din.org/en/category/settler-violence/

B’Tselem: http://www.btselem.org/settler_violence   

Al Haq: http://www.alhaq.org/component/acesearch/search?query=settler+violence

Find a printable version of this month's prayers here: 24 Feb 2017 Prayer Vigil

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 January Prayers

January 24, 2017 –

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 January 2017 

Prayer Focus: 

“Stop home demolitions and forcible transfer of communities as a new beginning for 2017”

The ACT Palestine prayers for 24th of January – 23rd of February are written to focus on demolitions, displacement and forcible transfer in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.

2016 was a tragic record year when it comes to demolitions of homes, latrines, solar panels and water cisterns in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UN never before counted as many demolitions by the Israeli military - taking place in direct violation of the basic principles of international humanitarian law.

2017 so far brings no hope. The year started with the same intense demolition pace. Of the nearly 100 demolitions and confiscations that have already taken place in 2017, only about half were provided humanitarian aid to alleviate their suffering. This leaves dozens of families with no homes, shelter, water and electricity in a very cold winter and increases the risk of forcible transfer. It is jeopardizing the very existence of these communities.

Our commitment is to stand up for and with these communities - find ways to stop such basic violation of rights against fellow humans and try to live in peace no matter what religion people belong to.

We call for justice and peace.

Prayers:

O God,

We remember the Palestinians who have lost their homes, water cisterns, solar panels, and other infrastructure to unjust demolition orders. We ask for the courage to name these injustices and the steadfastness to pursue their end. As the number of demolitions continues to increase, move us to action, both immediate and long-term. Help us to support our Palestinian brothers and sisters by speaking out and standing up to the evils of the occupation. Strengthen us to defend those whose homes and lands are being confiscated and sustain us in the pursuit of justice.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Hymn:

“Lord, Whose Love In Humble Service”

Lord, whose love in humble service bore the weight of human need, who upon the cross, forsaken, worked your mercy’s perfect deed; we, your servants, bring the worship not of voice alone, but heart, consecrating to your purpose every gift which you impart.

Still your children wander homeless, still the hungry cry for bread. Still the captives long for freedom, still in grief we mourn our dead. As you, Lord, in deep compassion, healed the sick and freed the soul, by your Spirit send your power to our world to make it whole.

As we worship, grant us vision, till your love’s revealing light in its height and depth and greatness dawns upon our quickened sight, making known the needs and burdens your compassion bids us bear, stirring us to ardent service, your abundant life to share.

Action to take:

  • Call on your government to denounce the continued demolitions across Area C and in East Jerusalem and take action to protect communities from forcible transfer.
  • Call on the European Union and its member states to start claiming financial compensation from Israel for destroyed and confiscated aid.

More information about demolitions:

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 December Prayers

December 21, 2016 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 December 2016 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST 24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to the Kairos Palestine for contributing to this month’s prayers.


ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 December 2016

A Message of Hope

Kairos Palestine is a Christian Palestinian movement which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict. In 2009, Kairos Palestine issued the Kairos Document “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope, and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering”, which calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine against the Israeli occupation. The Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2016 is a reflection on the seasons of Advent and Christmas. It contains scripture, prayers, reflections, and updates that remind us of the realities of life under military occupation, especially the injustices faced by children of Palestine. However, it also contains a message of hope. This Christmas, let us remember the good news proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem and turn our hearts toward love, justice, and peace for Palestine.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-12

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman World. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angel had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

REFLECTION

“What is the Meaning of Hope” – Kairos Palestine Document, Chapter 3.2

Hope within us means first and foremost our faith in God and secondly our expectation, despite everything, for a better future. Thirdly, it means not chasing after illusions – we realize that release is not close at hand. Hope is the capacity to see God in the midst of trouble, and to be co-workers with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in us. From this vision derives the strength to be steadfast, remain firm and work to change the reality in which we find ourselves. Hope means not giving in to evil but rather standing up to it and continuing to resist it. We see nothing in the present or future except ruin and destruction. We see the upper hand of the strong, the growing orientation towards racist separation and the imposition of laws that deny our existence and our dignity. We see the confusion and division in the Palestinian position. If, despite all this, we do resist this reality today and work hard, perhaps the destruction that looms on the horizon may not come upon us.

PRAYERS: H.B. Patriarch Michael Sabbah 

Thank you, O Lord, for coming among us. Humbly, you wanted to become our companion on earth, The earth rejoiced, and the angels chanted in the sky: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth for all people of peace.” Thank you, Lord, for coming among us in our land.

Yet, Lord, we are in war. Save us from the spirit of war and death. Lord, we rejoice in the day of your Nativity, We rejoice because you came to live with us. To you we raise our prayers. Take away war from your land.

To you O Lord, on this Christmas day, we raise our prayers for our children. Grant them peace and fill them with the joy of Christmas, and Peace. Lord, keep them away from death prevailing in our land.

Death is part of their life too. They too are killed. O Lord, have mercy on them and fill them with your love. O Lord, remove war and death from the hearts of their jailers and those who kill them. Fill the hearts of those also with the joy of Christmas. Renew their hearts and the face of our land.

O Lord, you said: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them. Do not put death in their life; do not deprive them of love. Protect their childhood and innocence. Keep them among us as angels of peace; Angels who love and do not hate.

Though war killed them also, destroyed their humanity, and filled their hearts with war, death and hatred. No one incites them. No one speaks to them about war. Yet their daily life is full with war.

Their daily bread is war. In their parent’s eyes they see pain and war, a war imposed upon them. In the absence of loved ones: a father, a brother or sister, they knew death.

You came to give us and give them love and abundant life, Life with light and joy, free of darkness and hate. Lord, give us the joy of life and love. Give the joy of life and love to those who obstinately want us to remain in war, death, under occupation and humiliation.


For more information on the work of Kairos Palestine, visit www.kairospalestine.ps

A printable version of this month’s Prayer Vigil can be found here.

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 November 2016 Prayers

November 25, 2016 – Prayer Petitions: 24 November 2016

ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers. A special thanks to the ELCJHL for authoring this month‘s prayers.

ACT Palestine Forum Prayers 24 November 2016

Prayer Focus: “Reaffirming Our Commitment to Fundamental Freedoms and the Protection of Human Rights”

The ACT Palestine prayers for 24 November – 23 December are written to coordinate with two upcoming United Nations international days: 29 November:

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

"Today, 136 countries recognize the State of Palestine and its flag flies at the United Nations next to those of all Member States. However, these advances are not felt by children in Gaza, or by the residents of Nablus, Hebron and East Jerusalem [...] let us reaffirm our commitment to bring about the just peace that the peoples of Israel and Palestine deserve.

-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

http://www.un.org/en/events/palestinianday/index.shtml

10 December: Human Rights Day

This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone's rights! Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading. Disrespect for basic human rights continues to be wide-spread in all parts of the globe. Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Messages of intolerance and hatred prey on our fears. Humane values are under attack.

We must reaffirm our common humanity. Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media.The time for this is now. We the peoples can take a stand for rights. And together, we can take a stand for more humanity.

http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/

Scripture

Then God said, 'Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.‘

Genesis 1:26

When he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor.‘

Luke 4:16-19

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

'See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.‘

Revelation 21:1-4

Prayer of Confession

Holy God, we confess:

In the beginning, we were made in your image.

In the beginning, you gave each of us your likeness, so that if we want to see you, if we want to know you, we must only look into the eyes of our neighbor.

In the beginning, we were created to be in relationship: cooperating, co-working, and co-creating your kingdom.

But from the beginning, we have failed to acknowledge your image in our neighbors.

From the beginning, we have created division, built walls, and justified violence and hatred, often in your name.

From the beginning, we have failed to speak out when our neighbors were hungry, homeless, or denied freedoms, but have sought our own comfort and protected our own interests. By what we have done—and by what we have failed to do—we have denied the rights of our fellow human beings.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Let your Son Jesus‘ concern for the poor and the marginalized inspire us. Let the prophet‘s vision of a world with no more pain, no more crying, and no more death, revive our vision of a world with no separation walls, no checkpoints, no war, and no occupation.

And by your Spirit, send us to speak and act for peace, justice, and human rights for all. Let this be a new day, and a new beginning—not only for Palestine, but for all of your beloved creation.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Suggested Music

For Everyone Born - by Shirley Erena Murray

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYQus85djK8

For everyone born, a place at the table, for everyone born, clean water and bread, a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing, for everyone born, a star overhead, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For woman and man, a place at the table, revising the roles, deciding the share, with wisdom and grace, dividing the power, for woman and man, a system that's fair, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For young and for old, a place at the table, a voice to be heard, a part in the song, the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled, for young and for old, the right to belong, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For just and unjust, a place at the table, abuser, abused, with need to forgive, in anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy, for just and unjust, a new way to live, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

For everyone born, a place at the table, to live without fear, and simply to be, to work, to speak out, to witness and worship, for everyone born, the right to be free, and God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, compassion and peace: yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice, justice and joy!

A printable version of this month's prayers is available here: APF Prayers November 2016.

ACT Palestine Forum: 24 October 2016 Prayers

October 21, 2016 –

Prayer Petitions: 24 October 2016 ACT PALESTINE FORUM PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

24TH of every month

Every day in the month ahead, we continue to pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. We are called to pray for an end to hostilities and bloodshed, for healing and reconciliation, and for a just and lasting peace that brings safety and development to all Palestinians and Israelis.

APF encourages its friends and partners to visit the APF website and APF Facebook page often to find, and also contribute, updates, photos, stories, advocacy ideas, and special prayers.

A special thanks to Diakonia International Humanitarian Law Resource Center for contributing to this month’s prayers.

 ACT Palestine Forum Prayers

24 October 2016

Prayer Focus: Forcible Transfer

Issues of land and housing continue to present some of the most pressing challenges of the Israeli Occupation as a whole. The forcible transfer of Palestinians throughout the occupied Palestinian territories has seen a dramatic increase in the year 2016 and populations in the West Bank, particularly Bedouin communities, are especially vulnerable. These communities are at risk because Israeli practices have created a coercive environment that puts pressure on them to move, mainly through the unavailability of building permits, which are almost impossible to acquire. As of August 2016, 786 Palestinian-owned structures had been demolished in 2016, cumulatively displacing 1,197 people, 558 of whom are children. Over 200 of the demolished structures were provided as humanitarian relief (source: UNOCHA).

The forcible transfer of protected persons from their normal place of residence is prohibited under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which also forbids deportations outside an occupied territory. The UN Secretary General has pointed out that the relocation of communities against their will, including as a result of the creation of a coercive environment, may amount to individual and mass forcible transfer. These transfers are often on land that has been designated for settlement expansion and the proposed relocation areas are inadequate to support the traditional herding and grazing lifestyle of the Bedouin, undermining both their livelihood and their culture.

 

Scripture Isaiah 58:6-7

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

This Scripture passage reminds us of God’s mission to restore justice and our participation in that mission. Please join us in praying for the courage to recognize and name the injustices we see in Palestine and Israel and for the strength to continue to seek peace through justice. We pray for those whose humanity goes unrecognized and whose dignity is stripped by unjust policies.

PRAYER

Let us pray for justice and righteousness for all of God’s creation:

(I. leader, II. congregation)

I. God, thank you for the miracle that we can meet in this fragmented world.

II. Thank you for the love in the midst of a world of hatred.

I. Thank you for reconciliation in the midst of a world of hatred.

II. Thank you for the light in the midst of a world of darkness.

I. Now we ask you, God, glorify your name through us.

II. Thank you for your Son who is the light of the world.

I. Call us to you and send us as lights in the world.

II. God, let the miracle happen.

  Holy God, where ignorance, self-love, and insensitivity have fractured life in the community, Give us your light, O God of love. Where injustice and oppression have broken the spirit of your peoples, especially in Palestine and Israel, Give us your light, O God who frees. Where hunger and poverty, illness and death have made life an unbearable burden, especially in Gaza, among the Bedouin, and in refugee camps, Give us your light, O God of grace. Where suspicion and hatred, conflict and war have challenged your goodness, especially in Palestine and Israel, and in many other places in our world, Give us your light, O God of peace. Where terror and extremism seek power and control, and where fear poisons human relationships, especially in Europe and the Middle East, Give us a perfect love which casts out fear, O God. Eternal God, remove the blindness of nations and people so that they may walk in the light of love. Remove the ignorance and stubbornness of nations and peoples so that they may drink from the fountains of your goodness. Receive these prayers in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (based on a prayer by Per Harling, from the WCC publication “Worshipping Ecumenically”, 1995)   For more information on Forcible Transfers, check out these articles and resources: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian Territories OCHA – Who is at risk of forcible transfer? Ma’an News -Forcible transfer of Bedouin communities JPost – Israel to transfer 46 West Bank Bedouin communities Diakonia – Displacement and Forcible Transfer   Please find a printable version here: APF Prayers October 2016  

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