December 2022

Check out the latest opportunities and events from
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). 


CMEP's Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, and Manager of Middle East Partnerships, Kevin Vollrath in November 2022.

Note from our Executive Director:

Christmas is a special and sacred time of year for those who celebrate the birth of Jesus. We turn our hearts and minds toward Bethlehem and wait in eager anticipation for the hope that Christmas brings and also the hope that one day peace will come. On the ground, the harsh and brutal realities of occupation in Palestine and other conflicts in the Middle East can be demoralizing and heartbreaking. Does our work make any difference? This picture, taken of myself and our Manager of Middle East Partnerships, Kevin Vollrath, was taken in November when we were leading a delegation of Pastors to Palestine and Israel. Standing by the wall in Ramallah, where Palestinian communities are cut off from East Jerusalem - we were surrounded by abandoned buildings in a neighborhood that slowly emptied of life and people and died. We wondered to ourselves - should we smile? Ultimately, the look on our faces represents the inspiration we experience from the Christians and others who remain "in the land" despite many challenges. We smiled in hope that what we witness today is not the end of the story. As we wait to celebrate the Christmas birth, we also wait for justice to prevail. We smile because we trust, believe, and have faith that peace is possible.

Blessings to you this Advent season from all of us at Churches for Middle East Peace.

Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon
Executive Director


Upcoming Film Salon:

Join us via Zoom on December 11th at 3 pm Eastern/ Noon Pacific for a discussion of the film "Come and See; Go and Tell – Next Year in Palestine." CMEP is a co-sponsor of this event and Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon will participate in the panel. Click the link below to learn more and register. After registration, you'll get a link to view the film for free at your convenience and a link to join the Q&A Discussion on December 11th.


CMEP's Annual Report:

Celebrate with Churches for Middle East Peace all that we accomplished this past year by reviewing our 2022 Annual Report. (Link will download a pdf file.) In this report we highlight our work to educate, elevate, and advocate in pursuit of our vision to actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.


Thank you for your support of our work. Your donations and investments do make a difference. Consider making a year-end donation today.


Advent Devotionals:

Together this Advent season, we look toward the child born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Guiding us on our journey, Kelley Nikondeha offers devotions from her book The First Advent in Palestine: Reversals, Resistance, and the Ongoing Complexity of Hope. Nikondeha teaches us about invitations from the first Advent into service, embodying God’s peace through lament, collective prayer, resisting injustice, theological reflection, following stars toward hope, and being willing to relinquish the status quo. At Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), our work seeks to embody each of those practices. We ask the question and daily live out what it means to have hope when the status quo on the ground in Palestine and the Middle East often seems to be getting worse. We remain committed to education and service in response to the injustice we witness as we advocate for the U.S. government to have different policies that will create justice and equality for all people in the Middle East.

You can find our Advent Devotionals on our website by clicking the button below.


Fall Webinar Mini-Course:

Fall 2022: Churches for Middle East Peace and Embrace the Middle East co-hosted a mini-course on A Land Full of God: Christian Perspectives on the Holy Land. This four-week series included different speakers each week covering topics such as Christian Engagement in the Holy Land, Theological Considerations in "A Land Full of God", and current realities in the land. Learn more about the speakers and the book A Land Full of God and find the link to watch the recordings of the sessions by clicking the button below.


Freedom of Movement Trip to the Occupied Palestinian Territories: March 7-16, 2023

CMEP invites you to visit Palestine/ Israel to participate in the annual "Freedom of Movement" marathon (half-marathon, 10k, and 5k available for walkers and runners). This trip will focus on issues related to the UN-sanctioned "right to liberty of movement" and environmental injustice in the occupied Palestinian territories. In addition to the marathon, participants will spend several days hiking in the West Bank with the option of staying with families. The geographical focus of the trip is Bethlehem and the West Bank, including a day in Jerusalem, with an optional 2-day extension in the North of Israel. Individuals and local groups are welcome to join this trip.


Action Alert: Contact Your Representative Now: Ask Them to Cosponsor the Justice for Shireen Act

On May 11, Shireen Abu Akleh, a journalist wearing a flak jacket with the word PRESS clearly marked, was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. So far, no one has been held accountable for her killing. On November 14, Rep. André Carson introduced the “Justice for Shireen Act” (HR 9291), a bill that will be vital to ensuring a thorough and transparent investigation is carried out. That same day, it was reported that the FBI has opened an investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh's death.


CMEP in the News:

Seeking Canaan: Native Americans, colonialism, and the support for Christian Zionism, Jennifer Maidrand & Tala Raheb, International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, October 27, 2022. 
US Churches urge government to respond to abuses of Palestinian children, Independent Catholic News, October 26, 2022.
Washington, DC Welcomes Patriarch Theodoros II For Last Leg of Apostolic Visit to US, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, October 14, 2022.

Public Statements:

November 23, 2022: The Violence Must Stop: CMEP calls on Palestinian and Israeli Leaders to Protect Children and Pursue Peace Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) continues to be dismayed by the escalation of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem and its devastating impact on children. CMEP calls on Palestinian and Israeli leaders to protect children and pursue peace.

November 15, 2022: Churches for Middle East Peace Joins Christian Faith Leaders in Writing in Support of Accountability for the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. In the letter the leaders write, “After more than four months, no adequate investigation has been conducted. Particularly because Ms. Abu Akleh was a U.S. citizen deserving of the full protection of her rights by her government, the U.S. government must ensure that those responsible for her death are held fully accountable and that any role U.S. defense materials or services might have had in her killing is thoroughly documented.” 

October 25, 2022: Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP): The U.S. Government Must Respond to Abuses Against Palestinian Children and Escalating Tensions in West Bank
CMEP calls on the US government to press the Israeli government to de-escalate tensions by reigning in settler violence and reassessing its rules of engagement and use of force guidelines in confrontations with Palestinians.

October 11, 2022: Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Supports Administration’s UNRWA Funding and Urges Congressional Support for Full Funding for Palestinian Humanitarian Needs CMEP welcomes the ongoing efforts of the Biden Administration to restore vital funding for Palestinian humanitarian needs that had been cut during the previous administration.

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Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
110 Maryland Ave NE, Suite 311
Washington, District of Columbia 20002
(202) 543-1222

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