05.03.09 15:56 Age: 3 yrs

Living Letters team to visit Israel and Palestine


Olive harvest in Nahalin, West Bank. Photo: Dirk Gieselmann/EAPPI

Peace-building initiatives and housing and education issues will be highlighted when a team of ecumenical representatives from around the world visits churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society movements in Israel and Palestine from 7 to 14 March.


Organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) as part of the Living Letters initiative, the visit reflects the WCC's focus on the troubled region, where it sees the ongoing presence and witness of churches as crucial in the struggle for a just peace.


Although they are a minority in Israel and Palestine, Christians are active and visible in public life. The delegation will learn about the role of the churches in the area, including the work of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The EAPPI aims to work alongside Palestinians and Israelis in their nonviolent actions for peace and to carry out concerted advocacy efforts to end the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories.


The visit will include meetings with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, human rights groups (both Palestinian and Israeli) and ecumenical organizations, as well as an exposure to the conditions of life under occupation and successful community projects in the area.


The international team will be hosted by the Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre, an initiative of the Jerusalem churches in association with the Middle East Council of Churches and the WCC. The Centre is a coordination point for ecumenical action in and for Jerusalem and its churches.


The members of the ecumenical delegation are:

  • Metropolitan of Transylvania Prof. Dr Laurentiu Streza, Romanian Orthodox Church

  • Fr Dr Emanuel Clapsis, Ecumenical Patriarchate, USA

  • Prof. Dr Nancy Cardoso, Igreja Metodista do Brazil

  • Ms Margareta Brosnan, CARITAS, Australia

  • Mrs Nancy Adams, Scottish Episcopal Church
WCC staff:
  • Dr Aruna Gnanadason, executive director for  Planning and Integration
  • Ms Emma Halgren, WCC Communication intern
  • Mr Ciprian Ioan Streza, Romanian Orthodox Church

The international ecumenical solidarity visit to Palestine/Israel is part of the WCC Living Letters initiative. Living Letters are small ecumenical teams visiting a country to listen, learn, share approaches and help to confront challenges in order to overcome violence, promote and pray for peace. Until 2010, several Living Letters visits take place each year throughout the world in the context of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence in order to prepare for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held in Jamaica in 2011.


Media contact in Jerusalem: Yusef Daher, phone: +972 50 554 5179.


Sixty Years of WCC Policy on Palestine/Israel, 1948-2007 (in brief)


WCC member churches in Israel/Palestine


Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel


Middle East Council of Churches


Churches in the Middle East: solidarity and witness for peace