Category Archives: Living Stones

Ancestral Journeys and Western Mission: A Review

Like other Western colonial-settler experiments, for over 70 years, Zionists have been systematically erasing the culture and history of indigenous Palestinians to justify their forced removal and the theft of their land. Ilan Pappe, in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, calls this ‘memorocide’ and in The Palestine Nakba, Nur Masalha elaborates, 

“The founding myths of Israel have dictated the conceptual removal of Palestinians before, during and after their physical removal in 1948… The de-Arabisation of Palestine, the erasure of Palestinian history and the elimination of the Palestinian’s collective memory by the Israeli state are no less violent than the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in 1948 and the destruction of historic Palestine.”

This is why books such as Ancestral Journeys and Western Missions are so vital in recording the memories and eyewitness accounts of Arabs and Palestinians who experienced the arrival of Western colonialists to the Middle East, were co-opted into their wars, witnessed the rise of Zionism and then became refugees in the Palestinian Nakba.  Anita Damiani-Shanley’s book will most certainly help perpetuate their heritage and rightful historic claim to Palestine.

Ancestral Journeys is however much more than the story of two families, one Arab and the other Scottish joined in marriage. It traces the influence of missionaries, archaeologists, traders and colonialists competing with each other for a share of the Near East as the Ottoman Empire met its demise. Richly illuminated with family photos, the three main chapters trace the ancestral journeys of Damiani-Shanley’s extended family from Scotland and Lebanon to Iraq and then to Palestine. A fourth chapter traces the role of the Anglican Church in Palestine.  

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Living Stones New Website

The Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust is an ecumenical charity with the primary aim of advancing education about Christianity in the Holy Land and countries around, by:

  • raising awareness in Britain and elsewhere, educating and informing the public concerning Christians in the Holy Land, through our website, lectures, newsletter and a yearbook of academic theological articles;
  • promoting contacts between Christians (and others) in Britain and in the Holy Land, e.g. through pilgrimages promoting encounter, reflection and witness;
  • cooperating with other charities and groups with similar aims, by sharing activities and information

Visit the Living Stones website

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Living Stones of the Holy Land: Who is My Neighbour?

Did you realise that once broadcast, TV signals begin an endless journey outward into the cosmos at the speed of light?  That means our earliest TV broadcasts are probably travelling through star systems more than 400 trillion miles from earth. Do you realise that our neighbours living 60 light years away are watching the first episodes of the Lone Ranger in black and white. 50 light years away they are now watching Bonanza. 40 light years away they have moved on to the original Star Trek series. 30 light years away they are able to watch the Dukes of Hazzard. Just 20 light years away it’s the Sopranos. Those only 10 light years away are being blessed by countless episodes of Lost. Scientists tell us that the further away your neighbours live, the more likely they are to hold outdated, inaccurate and stereotypical views of you.

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Bethlehem Evangelical Affirmation

We affirm the foundational truth that God loves everyone (John 3:16).

We affirm that as followers of Jesus Christ we are called to do justice and love mercy (Micah 6:8), to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21), and to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).

We affirm that the Holy Spirit empowers followers of Jesus to speak and live humbly and prophetically (Acts 1:8).

We recognize that this is the time to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Therefore, we are convinced that the Holy Spirit is leading us at such a time as this to unite as Christians throughout the world in order to pray and work for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

To this end, we commit to reconnect with the local Palestinian church and to listen and learn from all those who follow Jesus in the Holy Land and to share their stories with our own faith communities.

We further commit to work together to advocate changes in public policy and so achieve a just and lasting resolution of the conflict. Our vision and our hope is that Israelis and Palestinians will live in justice and peace in the land of the Holy One.

Endorsed by participants in the 2010 Christ at the Checkpoint conference, Bethlehem

Drafting Committee

Paul Alexander
Christine M. Anderson
Brother Andrew
Alex Awad
Bishara Awad
Mubarak Awad
Sami Awad
Gary Burge
Tony Campolo
Steven Haas
Lynne Hybels
Manfred Kohl
Jonathan Kuttab
Paul Johnson
Stephen Sizer
Porter Speakman, Jr.

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