When You Return
PILGRIMAGE IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
WHAT TO DO WHEN WHEN YOU RETURN
Travel to Palestine and Israel is always a mind-opening and transforming experience! What can you do with that experience, after you return home after a trip? Responding faithfully to the scriptural call that we seek peace and justice leads us to three challenges:
- Stay informed
- Stay in relationship with institutions and people in Palestine
- Stay engaged in advocacy
Here are some ways to put each of these into practice.
Things change rapidly in Palestine and Israel! It takes work to stay informed. The mainstream media often fails to tell the whole story, particularly by under-representing Palestinian and progressive Israeli perspectives. Compensate for this by getting regular updates from other sources; some we have found especially helpful include:
- Churches for Middle East Peace
- U S Campaign to End the Occupation
Stay in Relationship
When we keep in touch with groups or people whom we have met while on our trips, we make clear to them that they are not alone, that there are people around the world who understand, care about them and are praying for them. We "do mission in partnership" by walking with our partners, seeking to understand their struggles and letting them know that we are concerned for them.
Stay Engaged in Advocacy within Our Denomination and Beyond
Locally, we can speak to our own congregations and Presbyteries or in local ecumenical, interfaith, or secular groups. We can write letters to the editors of local papers. We can seek to organize groups of concerned individuals at each of these levels. Nationally, we have an advocacy role in influencing the policies of our denomination, which has taken bold stands on these issues. Advocacy toward our own government can be done by meeting with our elected representatives and their staff, by phone, mail and e-mail communications. It can be done individually or in groups. Ecumenical Advocacy Days and Churches for Middle East Peace provide effective channels for doing this jointly with other Christians. We can also join our voices with other more diverse groups such as the US Campaign to End the Occupation.