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Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center

Sabeel, Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
Working for Justice, Peace and Reconcilation in Palestine - Israel
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Our Story

Sabeel Purpose Statement

Sabeel is an ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians. Inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, this liberation theology seeks to deepen the faith of Palestinian Christians, to promote unity among them and lead them to act for justice and peace. Sabeel strives to develop a spirituality based on love, justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation for the different national and faith communities. The word "Sabeel" is Arabic for the way and also a channel or spring of life-giving water.

Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence and witness of Palestinian Christians as well as their contemporary concerns. It encourages individuals and groups from around the world to work for a just, comprehensive and enduring peace informed by truth and empowered by prayer and action.

Palestinian Liberation Theology

Palestinian Liberation Theology is an ecumenical grassroots movement, rooted in Christian Biblical interpretation and nourished by the hopes, dreams and struggles of the Palestinian people. Originating in the land where Christ lived, this theology seeks to provide a holistic vision of Gods redeeming activity in the midst of the current reality. In a situation where justice has been long neglected, Palestinian Liberation Theology opens new horizons of understanding for the pursuit of a just peace and for the reconciliation proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By learning from Jesus - his life under occupation and his response to injustice - this theology hopes to connect the true meaning of Christian faith with the daily lives of all those who suffer under occupation, violence, discrimination, and human rights violations. Additionally, this blossoming theological effort promotes a more accurate international awareness of the current political situation and encourages Christians from around the world to work for justice and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

History of Sabeel

In 1989 an ad hoc committee was formed to implement, on a practical level, a Palestinian Liberation Theology. On a pastoral level, some of the Palestinian clergy were listening to the cries of the people at the grassroots. They felt the need to respond not only to their physical sufferings, but also to the way these sufferings were being aggravated by the religious argument in the political conflict. People where asking "Where is God in all of this oppression and injustice?" We needed to work out a Palestinian theology of liberation as a pastoral response to such questions. Many of the Palestinian Christians also wanted to abandon the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, which was being used to justify their suffering. As Christians, however, the Bible is essential to our faith, so it was necessary to find in the Bible the God of justice, the God who is concerned with the oppressed.

The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek convened a committee of ten clergy and lay people to explore ways in which this theology could be developed and shared with fellow Palestinian Christians. They decided to host an international conference that would put Palestinian Liberation Theology in the context of other Liberation Theologies from around the world. Several local workshops were held to formulate ideas and prepare people for full participation in the conference.

In March 1990 the conference took place at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute. Local and international theologians developed the themes of the conference: Palestinian Reality; Palestinian Christian Identity; Power, Justice, and the Bible; Women, Faith, and the Intifada; and International Responses to the Quest for Palestinian Theology. The proceedings were published in a book entitled Faith and the Intifada (Orbis Books 1992), edited by Palestinian Liberation Theologian Naim Stifan Ateek, Jewish American Theologian Marc Ellis and American Theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether. The conference led to the founding of Sabeel as a liberation theology movement.

The Sabeel Center is located in Jerusalem, serving Bethlehem, Ramallah and the surrounding areas, with a branch office in Nazareth to serve the Galilee.

In recent years, International Friends of Sabeel chapters have been founded in Australia, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. International Friends of Sabeel Chapters provide support for Sabeels work in advocacy, education, and nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Code Of Conduct Across the spectrum of Sabeels workers, from employees to volunteers and to the Executive Committee, the entire Sabeel community strongly affirms this Code of Conduct as a living document that is intended to articulate the character of Sabeels workplace, to be a clear guide for new workers, and to be a helpful reminder for those who have been associated with Sabeel for years.

This Code of Conduct applies to all Sabeel workers whether they are paid staff or volunteers. This includes but is not limited to employees, interns, associated scholars, local and international volunteers, and members of the General Assembly, Board, and Executive Committee. All new workers will be given a copy of the Code upon condition of their work with Sabeel, and a copy of the Code will be posted prominently in Sabeels common room. Read more

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