Rev. Naim Ateek, the founder of Sabeel, an ecumenical Palestinian Christian organization based in Jerusalem, will shed light on current realities for Palestinians in the Holy Land at two Friends of Sabeel Conferences next month – at First United Methodist Church of Sacramento, March 16 and 17, and at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, March 23 and 24.
Other presenters include Huwaida Arraf, also a Palestinian Christian and a lawyer and human rights activist, along with other international and regional scholars, theologians, and activists.
Arraf has just returned from Bahrain, where she was invited to witness pro-democracy demonstrations. This past November, she was one of the Palestine Free Riders, who, inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Freedom Riders of the 1960s, attempted to ride segregated Israeli settler public buses.
Rev. Ateek's personal story includes displacement from his family home as a boy, during the creation of the state of Israel. An "internal refugee," he is a Palestinian Citizen of Israel, an experience about which most Americans know little. Ateek is the author of numerous books and articles, including Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, and A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.
"The two-day conferences provide a unique opportunity for United Methodists to hear perspectives and insights into the realities of Palestinians who live in the Holy Land," according to a Friends of Sabeel news release. "Conference attendees also will learn about the inspiring work being done by the United Methodist Church to address this seemingly intractable issue, through United Methodist Kairos Response and morally responsible investment efforts."
Both Friends of Sabeel Conferences have been listed on the California-Nevada Annual Conference web calendar.