Pain of divided city is carved into a Cross - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
May 10, 2005

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Pain of divided city is carved into a Cross

-10/05/05

In a moving ceremony to mark the opening of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Athens, Greece, a 25-foot high Cross arrived by boat from the divided city of Jerusalem today. It was received with prayers for peace with justice by representatives of churches from across the globe.

The olivewood Cross was made by craftspeople who have themselves been caught up in the tragic Israel-Palestine conflict. It represents both the historic presence of the Gospel in the region and the call for worldwide support for peace building and for solidarity with the small Christian community, the ëliving stonesí.

The Cross is a gift from Christians caught up in a war zone to their sisters and brothers gathering to reflect on the role and impact of the Christian message in the 21st century.

The World Council of Churches, which has organized the global mission event, also supports a programme of ecumenical accompaniment in Israel-Palestine. The reconciliation project has the endorsement of the heads of all the churches in Jerusalem.

Eleven women and seven men, aged from 25 to 68, have recently arrived as new ecumenical accompaniers in Israel-Palestine. Five come from Norway, five from South Africa, three from Britain, three from Sweden and one each from France and Switzerland.

A military helicopter hovering above the opening act of prayer and dedication for the World Mission Conference reminded delegates of the tense world situation in which they meet. The meetingís venue at Attiki, near Athens, is a resort usually used by leading members of the Greek army. It was part of the 2004 Olympic Village.

Jerusalem is a meeting point of two peoples and three faiths -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It has come to symbolize both the hope of reconciliation and the reality of conflict in a troubled region.

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