“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8-9)
The issues in Israel and Palestine are complex. The history of the lands now known as Palestine and Israel are laden with many layers of stories. These stories are often powerfully felt and told from many different perspectives.
As followers of the Jesus way, we do well to approach with the prophet Micah’s words in mind. We do well if we do not dehumanise either side. We do well to learn more about the issues. We do well to work towards a vision for a just peace, where all people in Palestine and Israel can live with freedom, dignity and security based on international law and human rights.
There are many opportunities to learn more, and ways to respond to issues that give priority to seeking lasting peace for the people of Palestine and Israel.
Today the VCC Executive Officer Rev Sandy Boyce met with Nell Potter, a returned ‘EA’ (see EAPPI below) and Executive Officer with PIEN (Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network), Jessica Morrison (Executive Officer, APAN), and Rev John Gilmore (President, National Council of Churches).
Sandy, Nell and Jessica are involved in EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel). EAPPI is a World Council of Churches program. In Australia, EAPPI is managed by Act for Peace (the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia).
EAPPI began when local church leaders in Palestine and Israel came together to take action in response to the pain and injustice they were witnessing in their communities. Their vision was a just peace, where all people in Palestine and Israel could live with freedom, dignity and security based on international law and human rights.
EAPPI volunteers deploy to Jerusalem and/or the West Bank, and spend three months living and working alongside both Palestinian families living under military occupation, and Israeli human rights defenders. Through the presence of the volunteers who act as international observers, human rights violations in Palestinian communities are reduced.
Nell also the Executive Officer of Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). She first visited Palestine in 2017 when she spent three months living in the West Bank on the World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Read an article Nell wrote for Anglican Focus.
Jessica has been the Executive Officer of APAN (Australia Palestine Advocacy Network) since 2011 and has a broad understanding of issues effecting Palestinians. She has traveled to Palestine on a number of occasions, including serving with Christian Peacemaker Teams. She has taught Social Work and been involved in a range of community campaigns and broader movements for peace and social justice. APAN works for an Australian policy that supports Palestinian human rights, justice, and equality.
Sandy has been engaged with the national EAPPI committee since the first volunteers were deployed – Bek Christensen and Aimee Kent. Sandy continues to be involved through the work of the EAPPI Committee and through the recruitment and training program for EAPPI volunteers.
The PIEN website has suggestions for resources and learning more:
For a brief introduction to the socio-political context, we’d recommend the Jewish Voice For Peace (USA) (video) or a written introduction from Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. For a theological introduction, we’d recommend the recent short publication The Wall has been broken down.
There are church statements from Christian leaders in Palestine and around the world. There is specific information about Christians in Palestine and the World Council of Churches World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel.
We would encourage you to listen with a generous spirit and open heart as we seek to understand more about what many people call the holy land.
If you’re interested in finding out more, or would like a speaker, check out the APAN, PIEN and EAPPI (Act for Peace) websites.