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Our Mission Statement:
To halt and then reverse the flight of Christians from the Holy Land to preserve and to foster a vibrant, living Christian presence in the place where Christianity was born, building connections with the Holy Land and the Christians living there.
Why is our Mission important?
1. In an increasingly secular world, a person's connections with the Holy Land and the Christians living there can serve to inspire reconnections, and deepening of connections, with his or her faith. Such connections will serve as a tangible resource to keep Christianity a part of, and even central to, each person’s everyday life.
2. If the Christian vibrant communities disappear from the Holy Land Christianity will suffer because not only will a living connection with its heritage be lost, and the maintenance and protection of its holy sites be threatened, but also because a symbol that has acted, however imperfectly, through the ages as a unifying force amongst Christians in an increasingly fragmented and fractious world will disappear.
3. The marvel of the Holy Land - and its promise - lies in the variety of its peoples and the example they have often provided, and can provide, to the world when they exercise their living faiths side by side and demonstrate a positive interaction among themselves.
4. Historically though always a minority in the Holy Land, Christian communities provide a small but necessary buffer between the dominant religions and cultures in the Holy Land against the tendencies that can, and often do, destroy people's willingness and ability to live peacefully together. Without strong, vibrant living Christian communities in the Holy Land the dream of peace, and maintaining peace, in the Holy Land will be seriously diminished, to the detriment of not only the region, but also the world.
5. The presence of Christian populations and their active participation in civil society is critical to maintaining a pluralistic Middle East and developing and maintaining tolerant, open, democratic forms of government that respect human rights, including minority rights.
The Christian Communities in the Holy Land are in Decline. Economically. Politically. In Numbers and Vitality
Nazareth's population in 1948 was 60% Christian. Today it is only 35%. Bethlehem was 85% Christian then. Today it is a mere 12%.
Unfortunately much more energy is wasted trying to place the blame for this situation on one group or another than on trying to correct it.
Some try to place the blame on Palestinian Muslims by alleging Muslim acts against Christians such as threats, roadblocks to permitting Christians buying land, arson attacks on Christian property, rapes, forced marriages and, in the case of at least one Muslim convert to Christianity, murder.
Others try to place the blame on Israelis by alleging discrimination in education, employment and public services that Israeli-Arabs face, as well as the spillover effects of Israeli policies with respect to Palestinians.
Still others would add that the morale of Christians in the Holy Land being undermined by the long history of fractious - at times downright hostile - relationships between Christian denominations.
Does all this blaming get us anywhere? Does it make things better for Christians in the Holy Land? Do inflammatory/political speeches, sermons, articles or videos blaming one or another help at all?
The fact is we don't have the time for these blame games. Injecting the politics of the region into discussions of how we halt and then reverse the decline of Christians in the Holy Land simply drowns out the Christian message.
It's not that we should ignore our politics or change them. We need to recognize that the Christian Communities in the Holy Land are a double minority: a minority in Israeli society and a minority in Muslim society.
And as we have learned, minorities that stand alone suffer in a myriad of ways in the face of greater and lesser denials of social justice.
We need to remember that alone, a minority is just a minority in any society, with all that implies in terms of the ability and resources available to rectify these injustices.
And so we need to come together irrespective of our views on politics or blame. We need to f ocus on actions that will help the Christian Communities in the Holy Land. And we need to do so NOW! Before, as so many fear, they disappear.
The Christian Communities in the Holy Land need your financial support, to be sure. But more than that they need to feel they are not alone in these times of need. Just as we all need emotional support in times of stress and crisis.
This is the purpose of United Christian Communities . . . to provide you with opportunities to connect with, support and strengthen the Christian Communities in the Holy Land.
You can help us. Please help us. Contact Rami at 800.869.4919 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Richard Robbins
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