Living Letters visit to Israel and Palestine

7 to 14 March 2009                                                  Read more about the visit

Patriarch Theophilus III: "Christians need moral support - they need to feel that they are not alone."

Members of the Living Letters delegation met with Patriarch Theophilus III, head of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine.

Sunday morning worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

Sunday mornings at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem see Christians of many denominations - including the Syrian Orthodox, Franciscan and Greek Orthodox communities - worshipping in their own traditions, and in specially allocated worship spaces.

Silwan community, East Jerusalem

After the Municipality of Jerusalem issued orders for demolition of 88 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighbourhood of Jerusalem, and two apartment buildings in the nearby Al Abbasiyya quarter, residents set up a peaceful protest action to raise awareness of their plight.

"We refuse to be enemies"

That's the guiding principle of the Tent of Nations, a peace building project run by members of the Nassar family on their land near Bethlehem. The Tent of Nations brings together people from all over the world, including solidarity movements, churches, youth organizations and tourist groups, to get involved in tree-planting, art workshops, English classes and other activities.

Tent of Nations

Members of the Nassar family (centre) with EAPPI participant Martin Rambow, Germany and Living Letters team member Nancy Adams, Scotland. Members of the Nassar family welcome people from all over the world to their land near Bethlehem to take part in the Tent of Nations, a peace building project.

Children at Aida, a Palestinian refugee camp two kilometres north of Bethlehem.

Residents of Aida live their lives surrounded by an eight-metre tall concrete wall, part of the Separation Barrier constructed by the Israeli Government to separate Israel and the West Bank.
There are 19 refugee camps on the West Bank, housing some 480,000 registered refugees.

Hope through art

Colourful murals line the Separation Wall near the Aida refugee camp, many of them painted by children from the camp.
The Lajee Centre within the refugee camp organizes cultural, social, artistic and sporting activities for refugee youth in the Bethlehem area, including theatrical plays, Palestinian folk dancing and computer classes.

Aida refugee camp

Living Letters team members, a staff member from the Jerusalem Interchurch Centre, a member of the refugee camp staff and a participant in the WCC's Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel survey Aida Refugee Camp, near Bethlehem.

Students at Bethlehem University

These young women see education as their way of resisting the Israeli occupation, and securing a better future for themselves and their families.
Bethlehem University, founded in 1973, has over 2,500 enrolled students, most of them full time, and over 10,000 graduates, most of whom work in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

All photos © WCC
High resolution versions of these pictures are available upon request.