Eleven international peacemakers from around the world visited congregations, presbyteries and colleges of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from Sept. 27-Oct. 21.
They shared their stories about church-based ministries in their countries that seek peace justice and pursue peace in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s international peacemakers come from Bolivia, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jamaica, Madagascar, Niger, Northern Ireland, South Sudan and Syria.
Nora Kort, a Palestinian Christian born and raised in Jerusalem, is one of the co-authors of the Kairos Document-Palestine. President of the Arab Orthodox Society and ATTA Services, two Palestinian humanitarian and development organizations in Jerusalem with mandate throughout the Palestinian territories, Kort implemented the US-based International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Country Program in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza for 10 years. She has worked tirelessly on empowering and strengthening the institutional capacity of local non-governmental organizations and has received several awards for outstanding humanitarian and development work and participated in several international conferences on the Palestinian Christians in the Middle East and the Palestinian situation under occupation.
Kort is a community development consultant, activist, enterpriser and founder of WUJOUD Museum of collective memory in the Old City of Jerusalem.
During her international peacemaker itineration, Kort visited the presbyteries of Ohio Valley, Shenandoah and Grand Canyon.
What is the situation in your country that you addressed?
The occupation and its negative impact on every aspect of life, the impact of Christianity in Palestine, the dwindling Christian population in the Holy Land and the importance of sister churches in supporting the call to end occupation and support liberation.
How are the faith communities addressing this situation?
“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is involved in our part of the world in terms of peacemaking. It supports churches in the West Bank.
Our message is a message of peace, love, hope, resilience.”
The church is calling for divestment from and sanctioning of Israeli products during the occupation.
What lessons from your situation are you trying to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
“People don’t know and they want to know. They want to be engaged but they don’t know how. I’ve learned they do care.”
As a minority, Palestinian Christians often feel the world has forsaken them and their cause of righteousness and justice.
What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?
“Do not be deceived. Listen to the two sides. Each side has its own issues. Try to act and work where justice is. Christians want to act according to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Open your hearts and open your minds to learn about the other and see where is the issue of justice.”