The ceremony that launched the document took place at the International Center of Bethlehem and was attended by over fifty people, included members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), from around the world.
At a time when thoughts turn to long-ago events in Bethlehem, the Kairos Palestine Document calls readers to think of present-day events. In this "moment of truth," the Palestinian Christians offer "a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering."
As the introduction to the document reads:
"We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God’s divine providence for all the inhabitants of this land. Inspired by the mystery of God's love for all, the mystery of God’s divine presence in the history of all peoples and, in a particular way, in the history of our country, we proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love."
Rev. Ronald Shive, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, N.C., and chair of the General Assembly’s Middle East Study Committee was among the Presbyterians present for the launch of the document. The Presbyterian News Service reports:
"“We will be looking carefully at this statement in the Middle East Study Committee,” Shive told the Presbyterian News Service. “I would urge all Presbyterians at Christmas to reflect upon its word to our church and others.”'
The Presbyterian Church has been involved in mission efforts in the Middle East for nearly two centuries. Read recent statements of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assemblies on seeking a just peace for Israel and Palestine.