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National Council of Churches' Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

A delegation of ten representatives of the National Council of Churches' member churches traveled to Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel / Palestine on their first such official delegation in ten years. Bishop Darin Moore, NCC board chair, and Jim Winkler, NCC president and general secretary, led the delegation, which traveled to the region to mark the 50th anniversary of Israel's Occupation of Palestinian land, express solidarity with our ecumenical colleagues, witness for peace alongside interfaith partners, and observe current on-the-ground realities so as to better inform our ongoing advocacy.

National Council of Churches is one of the ecumenical organizations funded by your faithful support of the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment.

In each of the places they visited a primary message Middle East church leaders sent to the churches in the USA is a request for prayer for them and to stand in renewed, more pronounced solidarity with them. Fear, frustration, and anxiety among Christians, whose numbers are dwindling in the region due to extremist violence, political instability, and economic hardship, permeated the messages they heard from leaders. They shared the common human longing to be recognized with dignity and respect.

A Message from Christian Pilgrims of Peace to the Middle East
We believe that peace can only come from the transformative power of prayer to God.

We believe that our faith calls us to be active in the world, remembering our Lord's teaching, "Blessed are the Peacemakers."

We believe we are united with our brothers and sisters of the Middle East and must make their struggle our struggle.

We believe that Christians in the United States must be made more aware of the dire situation of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East and that education about their situation must be our priority for action.

We believe that that Christians of the United States must engage in pilgrimages both to the holy places and to the Christian communities in Palestine and Israel, to meet with the "living stones," those Christians who live in those communities and are suffering discrimination and oppression.

We believe that Christians of the United States must engage in public policy advocacy that supports the well-being of our church members of the Middle East. This includes constructive remedies for the extremist violence and responses to human rights violations throughout the region.

We believe that Christians of the United States must more forcefully speak out against the oppression of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine that has weighed heavily on the churches and denied the rights and dignity of their members as well as of their Muslim brothers and sisters there.

We believe that Christians of the United States should explore new financial investment opportunities to support housing and job creation for Christians in the region.

We, the representatives of the 2017 National Council of Churches delegation to the Middle East, commit ourselves to be in solidarity with Christians of the Middle East and work for peace throughout the region as one of our highest priorities, and we invite member churches to work collaboratively with us to make real these words.

National Council of Churches website

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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