'Investing in peace' is a prominent Kirk assembly theme

By staff writers
25 May 2011

Investing in peace with justice was a major emphasis in a 'deliverance' (a multi-section motion) put forward by the Church of Scotland World Mission Council to the Kirk's General Assembly on 25 May 2011.

The deliverance commended the Kairos Palestine document (http://www.kairospalestine.ps/) to the whole church, gave thanks for "Jewish, Christian and Muslim cooperation in upholding the rights of the poor and oppressed in the Middle East and beyond", called for prayer for the witness of Presbyterian and other churches in Syria and Lebanon, backed peacemaking in Israel and Palestine, and encouraged people to volunteer to be mission partners and Ecumenical Accompaniers in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

The Rev John P. Renton highlighted the benefits of church twinning arrangements and other awareness ranging activities to encourage Christians in the Middle East - given the enormous challenges many indigenous Christian communities face in a turbulent region.

White felt doves, produced from Bethlehem by L'Arche, the able-bodied and disabled Christian community, were vibrant symbols of the 'investing in peace' dynamic. All participants were urged to buy them, and many did so during proceedings. Other products from Hadeel Palestinian Fair Trade Shop were also highlighted. (www.hadeel.org)

Church of Scotland investment in a 'wellness centre' at the CoS Hotel in Tiberias - which primarily benefits the better off and is not available to poorer Palestinians - was defended on the basis that it raises funds to enable a wider range of peace and justice work, and also provides some modest employment. The issue has been controversial for some time, and a significant number of Kirk members remain dissatisfied with the situation.

The deliverance also expressed strong support for Christian Aid as an official relief, development and advocacy agency of the churches in Britain, while Assembly participants also affirmed the contribution of Tearfund.

The World Mission Council was asked to offer continuing assistance to Christians in North and South Sudan, given the referendum and emergence of two countries from one.

The Government of Pakistan was urged to repeal its country's blasphemy law and to end misuses of this legislation against Christians and others.

The work of the Coptic Evangelical Organisation for Social Services (CEOSS) was singled out for praise in Egypt, and the Kirk Assembly acknowledged the importance of complex patterns of change and people's movements across the region - where the Church of Scotland has strong historic links.

[Ekk/3]

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