Saturday, September 19, 2015

Report on Fr Chacour's Visit!

What an afternoon and evening in West Michigan, USA, with a visit from Fr. Elias Chacour two days ago! (All Blood Brothers books were sold out!)

134 Hope and Western Seminary students (and a smattering of community folk) gathered at the College; and 275-300 people of all ages came to hear and meet him this gentle but forceful spiritual giant at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in the evening.

What a Kairos moment, given the crisis for Christian schools in Israel/Palestine as we sought to listen and learn. Joan Deming introduced Abuna's story (go to for more on the Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI). A Free-will offering of around $500 was donated to POI (Pilgrims of Ibillin).

Thank you to St. Francis (and Fr Charlie Brown) for hosting the evening event and making Fr Chacour's presentation there available on YouTube (Here is the link: (Many of us had trouble hearing the presentation, so this is the way to really listen in).

Hearing the discouraging update by Fr Chacour, many were led to ask, "What can I/we do?"

Joan Deming, Executive Director of Pilgrims of Ibillin, is suggesting the following letter be sent to Israeli US Ambassador Ron Dermer, which I strongly urge you to write:

Date ______________________

The Honorable Ron Dermer, (Israel’s Ambassador to the United States)
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008

Dear Mr. Dermer,

I am writing to object strongly to the deep subsidy cuts imposed by Israel’s Ministry of Education on Christian schools in the State of Israel, mostly in the region of Galilee. After many years of incremental cuts, the current level of support for these schools is untenable at just 29% of what government schools receive. The cuts have left these excellent Christian schools in dire financial condition, threatening their continued existence, while the comparable “religious and unofficial” Jewish Schools have 100% of their financial needs met by Ministry of Education subsidies.

The forty-seven Christian Schools of Israel are among your nation’s finest schools, and graduates of these schools give exceptional service and leadership as citizens within Israel and around the world. The students enrolled in these schools deserve equal respect and support with all other Israeli students. The schools they attend merit full support – not in the form of one-time bonuses or favors, but as dependable subsidies, equal to all other schools.

As an American and a Christian who cares deeply, together with many other American citizens, about all the people of the Holy Land, I see this crisis of increasingly restricted funding as unnecessary and punitive against the Christian minority in Israel. I would like to believe that Israel, as a democracy and a country that proclaims religious freedom for all citizens, is better than these funding cuts indicate.

Therefore, I strongly request that the Israeli Ministry of Education immediately comply with the law and restore government funding for all Christian Schools to levels equal to the subsidies given to all other “religious and unofficial” schools in Israel.

Respectfully submitted,

United States of America

We are considering convening a group of persons interested in pursuing the matter of justice for Christian schools in Isr/Pal. Let me know if you are interested in being a part of such a conclave! There are things we can do if we have the mind and will to do it!

Kairos West Michigan is gearing up for a visit to W. Michigan of Mark Braverman, the principle author of Kairos USA, an American response to the Call for Help from our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters. Those dates will be Monday and Tuesday, November 9 and 10, 2015. Set those dates aside and watch for more details.

Thirty-one new people signed up to receive news from Kairos W. MI (KWM).

Thank you to Joan Deming (Pilgrims of Ibillin, Abuna's US affiliate), Michael Spath, our partner from Ft Wayne, and to Fr Chacour for this sobering reminder of injustice in Isr/Pal. Thank you to Western Seminary and Hope college for your encouragement, participation, and financial support. Thank you to our supporting churches (First Methodist Peace with Justice Committee, Hope Church, and Third Church, Holland, MI). We are definitely looking to expand the number of supporting congregations, interested persons and related groups.

Momentum towards a genuine movement of the spirit/Spirit is growing. Thank YOU for being a part of it! Faithfully yours, JRK

John for Kairos West Michigan
From indifference to any truth; from cowardice that shrinks from new truth;
from laziness content with half truth; and from the arrogance that thinks it knows the whole truth,
O God of Truth, deliver us!