Third Presbyterian Church’s many Outreach ministries support community needs in key areas, such as housing, food, education, transition from incarceration, and activism for justice. While many of these ministries are well known to the congregation because so many members volunteer, several have been flying under the radar. This is the third article in a series to put a spotlight on some of these lesser-known ministries and draw attention to the real breadth of Third Church’s Outreach commitments. This month we focus on the Israel-Palestine Education and Action (I-Peace) ministry team.
I-Peace is a unique ministry in that it focuses on Christian advocacy rather than Christian service. Our Mission Statement is:
I-Peace—learning to do right, seeking justice and defending the oppressed (Isaiah 1:17). We seek a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine through education and positive activism both locally and globally. We seek to educate ourselves, our church, and the broader Rochester community about the issues of Israel-Palestine. We seek to partner and cooperate with like-minded organizations in these efforts. We pray for all.
This quest for peace in Israel-Palestine is depicted in the I-Peace logo, which shows two doves over the flags of both Israel and Palestine.
As the recent violence in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Israel itself has shown, obtaining a just and lasting peace in our Holy Land will require a lot of understanding and discussion. I-Peace provides a safe space at Third Church for people interested in learning more about, and taking action on, the vexing issues in Israel-Palestine.
The I-Peace strategic plan includes three focus areas:
- Understanding, publicizing, and acting on children’s issues in Israel-Palestine
- Understanding, publicizing, and acting on PC(USA) resolutions related to Israel-Palestine, and
- Supporting the local Witness Palestine film festival and events
To date, I-Peace has lived out its mission most visibly in the annual Palestinian olive oil sale during Advent. The sale supports Palestinian farmers and their families who belong to the Canaan Fair Trade Olive Oil Association, and will occur again this winter!
I-Peace’s recent educational programs have included a virtual meeting with Doug Dicks, the PC(USA)’s Mission Agency mission co-worker in Israel-Palestine, and a discussion with the Rev. Loren McGrail, Pastor at Irondequoit UCC church and previous UCC Global Mission Co-Worker for Israel-Palestine. Both speakers commented on the current pandemic and the drastic effect it has had on the tourism industry in the Holy Land.
Upcoming events will include a talk from Noushin Framke of PC(USA)’s Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) on September 19. Noushin will talk about PC(USA)’s positions and resolutions regarding Israel-Palestine. We expect to host a spring 2022 study of IPMN’s excellent book, Why Palestine Matters: The Struggle to End Colonialism. Also next spring we expect to bring a speaker from Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) to speak on their “No Way to Treat a Child program.”
Of course, the future of I-Peace depends on the interests and energies of I-Peace ministry team members, including you. If you have ideas for future programs or topics to discuss in relation to Israel-Palestine, let us know. Join us on our journey to understand our contemporary Holy Land. We truly pray for all.
I-Peace meets virtually (here) on the third Sunday of the month, immediately after worship. All are welcome.