Global Church body with 80 million members takes action supporting Palestine, calls for examination of investments
(Palestinian pastor, Reverend Mitri Raheb from Bethlehem speaking at WCRC)
The General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), representing over 80 million Christians, has called on its members and member churches to take action in support of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation and oppression (click here
The WCRC held its 26th General Council this past week in Leipzig (Germany) where, among other speakers were BDS South Africa’s Chairperson, Professor Farid Esack as well as a leading Palestinian theologian and pastor from the holy town of Bethlehem in Palestine, Reverend Mitri Raheb (click here
). The General Council, the highest decision-making body of the WCRC, stated that “many of us have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears the painful realities of life for Palestinians...with respect to the situation of injustice and suffering that exists in Palestine, and the cry of the Palestinian Christian community, the integrity of Christian faith and praxis is at stake."
Among other measures, the WCRC has urged its more than 225 member churches worldwide to examine their investment relationships and to disseminate to members educational materials on the Palestinian situation. The WCRC also cautioned that the Christian faith should not be used to justify the injustice against the Palestinian people and rejected any use of the Bible “to legitimize or support political options and positions that are based upon injustice, imposed by one person on another, or by one people on another.”
The WCRC General Council also instructed its Executive Committee to respond to the letter of 21 June 2017 from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) indicating what actions can be taken by the WCRC in response to the Palestinian Christians's cry for "costly solidarity".
Last month, on the 21st of June, Palestinian Christians belonging to the NCCOP wrote an open letter to churches worldwide calling for “costly solidarity” and support of the BDS boycott of Israel. The Palestinian Christians wrote: "[We call on you to] call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law […] we need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians [...] we ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support athletic, cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions [...] in response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure." (Click here for the NCCOP letter
The WCRC represents over 80 million Christians in Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches in over 100 countries. South African churches belonging to the WCRC include the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC)/Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa, Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika/ Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA)/(NGKA), Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, and the Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ.
The South African Christian theological organization, Karios Southern Africa, has welcomed the WCRC action in support of Palestine saying: “We celebrate the WCRC's unique voice in the growing chorus of Christian communities in ending "shallow church diplomacy". It is our prayer and hope that this ecumenical family will thereby actively add your unique presence towards a just peace in Palestine/Israel. We look forward to seeing the fruits of these resolutions. We therefore pray for wisdom and courage in implementing them as stewards of moral consistency…we and many others are with you on this journey.” (Click here for the Kairos SA message of support
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