Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

Sabeel invites you to join Advent services

Online services will be offered in both Arabic and English

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

Sabeel is a longtime global partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

LOUISVILLE — Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem and longtime Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) global partner, invites U.S. Presbyterians to join in four online Advent services on Tuesdays during the month of December (8, 15, 22 and 29).

The online services, conducted in both English and Arabic, will be led by Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Sabeel’s founder. The services “will be a time to join together to discuss how the weekly Scripture readings apply to our lives today, and to pray for the specific needs of this region through the Sabeel wave of prayer,” according to Ateek.

The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Sabeel founder, will lead the four Advent services. (Photo courtesy of Sabeel)

Sabeel is an Arabic word meaning “the way, channel” or “spring of life-giving water.” It is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians encouraging men, women and youth to “discern what God is saying to them as their faith connects with the hard realities of daily life: occupation, violence, discrimination and human rights violations. Sabeel strives to develop a spiritualty based on justice, peace, non-violence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities.”

An international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians, Sabeel seeks a just peace as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions. Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is one of several international chapters supporting the work of Sabeel. Other chapters exist in Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Canada.

Sabeel promotes theological, moral and legal principles for peace as outlined in the 2009 Kairos Palestine Document, a call by Palestinian Christians to Christians around the world to help challenge the Israeli occupation. “Kairos” is the Greek word for “an opportune or decisive moment.” The document’s authors include Ateek, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Archbishop Attalah Hanna, and Father Jamal Khader.

Ateek, an Anglican pastor and native Palestinian, worked with other Christian and Jewish theologians, clergy, and lay people to create an organization supporting this movement. In 1993 they agreed to call it Sabeel. Today the organization has two offices — one in East Jerusalem and one in Nazareth. It strives for a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation, and it promotes a more accurate awareness of Palestinian Christians.

The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek wrote the 1989 book, “Justice, and Only Justice, a Palestinian Theology of Liberation.” (Photo courtesy of Sabeel)

Ateek was born in the Palestinian village of Beisan in 1937. His family became refugees in 1948 during the first Arab-Israeli war, which shaped who he became. He was the first to articulate a Palestinian theology of liberation in his book “Justice, and only Justice, a Palestinian Theology of Liberation,” published by Orbis in 1989. The book laid the foundation for a theology that addresses the conflict over Palestine and explores political, religious, biblical and theological dimensions.

Around the world, liberation theologies in general are the result of painful struggles of people who are born into situations of oppression and strive to interpret their experience through Scripture, prayer and worship.

The fact that Christianity is so deeply rooted in Palestine is a critical point in Sabeel’s efforts to reclaim a sense of identity for younger generations who are growing up with a narrative that claims Palestine was “an empty country,” or “a land without people.”

To participate in the December services, click here.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

  • Subscribe to the PC(USA) News

  • Interested in receiving either of the PC(USA) newsletters in your inbox?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.