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New Congregational Resources Support A "Shared Jerusalem" 

            WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Amidst continuing negotiations for a Middle Eastern peace agreement, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a coalition of church agencies in Washington D.C., of which the National Council of Churches (NCC) is a founding member, has released new congregational resources urging an inclusive Jerusalem.  

            Distributed as part of the “Shared Jerusalem” campaign that was started by CMEP in 1996 and has continued through local groups ever since, the new materials recognize Jerusalem’s importance for Jews, Christians and Muslims.  Initially, “Shared Jerusalem” focused on informing the general public.  The revived campaign concentrates on raising the consciousness of congregations.  

David Weaver, Middle East Director of Church World Service/NCC, believes uniting congregations is the first step toward sharing Jerusalem.  “We want to mobilize congregations to make their statements heard, and to make sure that Congress is aware that there are other points of view,” Mr. Weaver said. “As Christians and churches we feel we have a unique relationship with Jerusalem.  We have a unique perspective and a unique voice to contribute to the discussions.” 

The recently released resources include a colorful poster and other worship and study materials.  More than 16,000 sets are being distributed through NCC member communions who are also CMEP members, including the United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Church of the Brethren, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America, and United Methodist Church. 

While the revived initiative is designed to inform congregations about the Israeli and Palestinian struggles over Jerusalem, it also is intended to serve as a catalyst for change. By encouraging members of congregations to get involved individually and collectively with such efforts as writing to Congress, CMEP ultimately hopes to “create a Jerusalem that is a sign of peace and a symbol of reconciliation for all humankind.”  

More than 600 top leaders of Christian organizations already have endorsed the “Shared Jerusalem” initiative.  To receive the new “Shared Jerusalem” materials, write Churches for Middle East Peace,110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 10, Washington, DC 20002 or visit CMEP’s Shared Jerusalem Resource Center at www.cmep.org. 

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