Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Joint Simulcast Worship between Washington, DC and Bethlehem
IN CELEBRATION of Christmas, worshippers gathered on Dec. 20 for the second annual joint simulcast worship service between The National Cathedral Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul in Washington, DC and The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.
Speaking from Bethlehem, Bishop Munib Younan welcomed the congregants, saying that although they are joined by a common fear, they need to condemn "anything that harms the dignity of human beings" and to "promote justice." From Washington, Bishop John Bryson Chane prayed for "strength to all who live and work in the midst of violence" and for "comfort to those who are in distress."
The service continued with American and Palestinian worshippers taking turns reading selections from the Bible and singing hymns. When a worshipper in Bethlehem read the Bible in Arabic, worshippers in Washington could follow along by reading the English translation. Everyone in Washington joined in when it was the Cathedral Church's turn to sing a hymn, whereas in Bethlehem, only the children from the Dar Al-Kalima School Choir sang, with some of them playing instruments including recorders and a drum.
From Bethlehem, Bishop Suheil Dawani talked about the "extreme pressure" Christian Palestinians are under and how they need God to elevate the suffering. He prayed that "the gift of love" would reach Christians, Muslims and Jews, and that there would be healing without religion or politics getting in the way. …