Atlanta Church Summit

798 At  the invitation of the heads of churches in the Holy Land, about 100 American church leaders gathered in Atlanta, GA on April 19 & 20th for the Atlanta Summit of Churches in the USA and the Holy Land.

This first of its kind gathering had three goals.
  1. Adopt a joint and comprehensive strategy for a common witness by American and Palestinian799 Christians.
  2. The drafting of the “Atlanta Document” that would for the first time articulate a joint and comprehensive vision for the future of the Holy Land and its Christians.
  3. Send a letter that communicates this vision and its urgency to President Obama.

The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA) articulated one of the reasons this diverse gathering was so important.

“It was significant that a broad spectrum of Christian churches – Evangelicals to Orthodox, historic black denominations as well as mainline denominations – participated,” said Eaton. “This diverse coalition has more credibility than the usual alliances. The freedom of Palestine, the security of the state of Israel and the preservation of Arab Christianity in the Holy Land are not political issues for a few but a faith issue for many.”
 
Following the Summit in Atlanta several members of the Palestinian delegation, including the Most Revd Bishop Suheil Dawani, archbishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, traveled to Washington, D.C. While in Washington the Palestinian delegation delivered the letter to President Obama, met with Dr. Colin Kahl, assistant to the president and national security adviser to the vice president, Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), congressional staffers and State Department representatives including Dr. Shaun Casey, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Religious Affairs.