In mid-February 2017, 16 African-American pastors from the USA toured the Holy Land to learn more about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The visit was an initiative by the Lott Carey Global Christian Missional Community and led by its president, the Rev. Dr Alyn E. Waller, who is a senior pastor at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“This tour will help us help the Palestinians in their struggle for justice and peace. We need to be part of that”, says Waller.
The group was welcomed in Jerusalem by Yusef Daher, executive secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Center in association with the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches. As the organiser of the tour, this was a special occasion for Daher, since it was the first in a series of planned pilgrimage tours to the Holy Land.
“It sure feels great to welcome the first group and I am glad that they are enjoying it and that they engage in our struggle for justice and peace”, says Daher.
Having visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Sea of Galilee during their eight-day tour, the group brings back home a better understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on the people in the region.
“This pilgrim tour has given me a new perspective on the Palestinian struggle and how that is related to the African-American struggle. It has been an eye-opening and enlightening experience”, said Pastor Deborah A. Marshall from Morning Star Baptist Church in Clairton, Pennsylvania.
* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.
* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en