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Middle East Monitoring Group releases Kairos study guide

LOUISVILLE (Office of the General Assembly) Fulfilling part of its mandate from
the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Middle
East Monitoring Group (MEMG) has finished its work on a study guide for the Kairos
Palestine document.

The guide is available for download.

According to the MEMG’s preamble to the study guide, it “is designed for ordinary
Presbyterians, who may have little experience with the plight of Palestinian Christians
or the dynamics of the larger Israeli-Palestinian struggle, to better understand what
our sisters and brothers in Christ from that region are experiencing and saying about
faith and life in the Holy Land through the Kairos Palestine document.”

The Kairos Palestine document (“A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love
from the heart of Palestinian suffering”) was released in December 2009 by a group of
Palestinian Christian theologians, many of whom belong to churches that are partners
with the PC(USA).

“One of the hopes expressed by our Palestinian Christian partners is that the document
will energize others to join the struggle for a just peace in Palestine and Israel,” said
the Reverend Ron Shive, member of the monitoring group.

In directing the MEMG to create the study guide, the 219th General Assembly (2010)
commended the Kairos Palestine document to the PC(USA) for study and endorsed
the document’s “emphases on hope for liberation, nonviolence, love of enemy, and
reconciliation.” The assembly also “lift[ed] up for study the often neglected voice of
Palestinian Christians.”

In addition to containing the Kairos Palestine document, the study guide contains
three sessions structured around the document’s governing themes of faith, hope, and
love. Also included is a leader’s guide with background information for each session.

“This study guide is designed for people coming to the Kairos Palestine document
from the full range of different commitments and backgrounds,” said the Rev. J.C.
Austin, member of the monitoring group.

“By integrating the themes held up by the General Assembly with the main themes
of the document itself, I think we’ve created space for all sorts of people to come

together and hear both the voices of Palestinian Christians and one another: listening,
discussing, responding, and learning,” Austin said.

The MEMG has also included a brief resource on the background and context of the
Kairos Palestine document, as well as the letter from the authors of the document and
the response from the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land.

Elder Laurie Anderson, chairperson of the MEMG, said, “Clearly the issues of Middle
East peacemaking are complex; as the monitoring group wrestled with our passions
surrounding this issue, we wanted to give those who use this study guide some basic
tools to have these often difficult conversations.”

Anderson said that the MEMG’s deep desire is to mirror the spirit of the 219th
General Assembly (2010) where many groups from often opposing perspectives on
Middle East peacemaking issues came together in unity in the bond of the Holy Spirit.

She added, “What we witnessed at the assembly was a common agreement to speak
respectfully from our individual commitments, to listen well to the voices of others,
and to strive to find new ways to work together for justice and peace in the region.”

In addition to Anderson, Austin, and Shive, members of the Middle East Monitoring
Group are the Revs. Roula Alkhouri, Bill Borror, Laura M. Cheifetz and Jeffrey