NAZARETH – On February 9-10, 2017, the International Christian Committee in Israel (ICCI) and the Musalaha Association held a conference in Nazareth on “The situation of the Church in Israel.”
The number of participants, about fifty persons was deliberately restricted and selected: the Heads of Churches that make up the ICCI (Orthodox, Latin, Melkite, Maronite, Anglican, Lutheran), some secular figures and some experts.
Mr. Hussam Elias, executive director of ICCI, assured the practical organization of the event. Mr. Farah Jarayseh, President of ICCI and Dr. Salim Munayer, founder and president of Musalaha, sponsored the conference.
After the introduction with speeches from the Heads of Churches, the program included four sessions where each session included a lecture from an expert followed by a sharing.
The following bishops were present: Bishop Kyriakos Orthodox of Nazareth, who read a message from Patriarch Theophilos II; Bishop George Bacouni, Melkite Bishop of Galilee; Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar; and Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan of Jerusalem.
Various experts were also called to bring their knowledge:
-Dr. Bernard Sabella, executive director of MECC/DSPR central office, who spoke on “The situation of Christians in a period of transition”;
-Dr. Munayer Salim gave a presentation, the fruit of extended research, on “Christian identity in Israel”;
-Mr. Jaafar Farah, director of Musawa Center for Arab citizens, developed the theme “How to build a society in a time of political crisis”;
-Mr. Boutros Mansour, CEO of the Nazareth Baptist School and member of the Office of Christian schools in Israel, amid the latest schools crisis, addressed the question: “Where is Christian education now?”
After the conference, Bishop Marcuzzo, interviewed by reporters said: “The atmosphere was very warm and cordial, serious debate, honest, responsible and, in the opinion of all, very constructive.”
Our correspondent in Galilee
Photos d’A.K. et S.A.K.