The world-wide pandemic brings into sharp relief our interconnectedness
as world citizens and the reality that everywhere in our world, those who
are economically and socially marginalized including much of Palestine, are
bearing the greatest consequences.
We are excited to share news of an important new development in the
ministries of Ramallah Friends Meeting (RFM) since we last were in
touch. In August, Mai Zaru assumed the full time position of Program
and Outreach Associate. Having grown up in the Meeting and gradu-
ated from Ramallah Friends School before emigrating with her family
to the U.S., Mai is wonderfully suited for her work. She takes up this
role with a degree and strong experience in Special Education and a
passion for her homeland. Her story is best told in her own words.
Recently, when Friends sat in Worship they received the following ministry from Jean Zaru: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). That ministry remains the context in which Ramallah Friends Meeting (RFM) gathers in worship every First Day.
That ministry also remains the context in which Jean Zaru carries out her ministry of receiving groups and delegations of theologians, teachers and youth of all faiths from around the world...
In this season, here in the northern hemisphere, that which has lain fallow is transformed into life and brings with it a sense of renewal, we send you a greeting built on an enduring hope. Ramallah Friends Meeting stands in the center of Ramallah as a modest but peaceful and unshakeable testament to the conviction that God’s Light is a transforming love that welcomes all, changes all.
Were you to come to Meeting in Ramallah, you would be delighted to come to know three of the youngest members attending worship. You would see baskets of children’s books, Godly Play and more...
It is our hope that you will feel led to support this on-going and newly developing work of the meeting through your prayers – and as you are able, through your financial contributions.
In Palestine and throughout the Middle East, we contemplate the historical events of Holy Week and Easter from the vantage point of our homeland. We look out over the same hillsides, walk the same streets, touch the same stones. The suffering of long ago and the suffering we endure today often appear seamless. Identification and living experience run deep. The continuity of history is strong.
We kneel and cry out from the depths of Gethsemane...
You are invited to read and share this meditation from Jean Zaru on Advent, biblical peace, longing and liberation.
"...To live one's life as an expression of peace is a beautiful act of courage. And so it is today that, with courage and faith, we hold strong to our vision of a peaceful world and a peaceful Jerusalem - an open and inclusive city that welcomes all people, religions and cultures...
"Friends, the dire circumstances of today require of us a measure of courage and faith like no time before. And whether we consider ourselves ready or not, the "season of peace...when there is no peace" is upon us..."
Renewing our commitment for this season and this time
It is time for us, again, to be in touch and seek your support for Ramallah Friends Meeting (RFM) and its ministries. That support comes in several forms, each of which is essential, if the work and vision of the Meeting are to continue to grow and serve as a beacon of hope in a deeply troubled part of the world...
Enjoy reading this update which brings alive the spirit & capacity of RFM’s continuing witness. The groundwork has been laid for new ministries to unfold over the coming months. Will you join with us and be part of the way forward?
Jean Zaru began her volunteer service as Clerk of Ramallah Friends Meeting in 1987. Prior to responding to this leading she was president of the YWCA Jerusalem and vice-president of the World YWCA, as well as a teacher of religion & ethics at the Ramallah Friends School. Jean was also a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and served on the interfaith dialogue group of the Middle East Council of Churches, in addition to raising three children in the Meeting.
A hallmark of Jean's public ministry has been its inclusivity. She holds together...
When we last wrote at the end of 2016, the vitality of the worshipping community at Ramallah Friends Meeting was lifted up. As the year turned and with your spirited support, I am glad to report that all the ministries of the Meeting have remained steadfast including First Day and Mid-Week Meetings for Worship, in addition to welcoming a steady stream of sojourners, peace workers, scholars and students from across six continents! You are invited to take a moment to read the Meeting's annual epistle at www.rfmq.org.
In this letter, we share with you a major transition in the life of Ramallah Friends Meeting. After thirty years of faithful, committed unwavering service...
From the land of Palestine, I extend loving greetings to you as sisters and brothers, both near and far. In just a few days, our Lenten journey will culminate as we celebrate Palm Sunday, mindfully walk through each day of Holy Week, attend prayer services and reflect in solitude. Good Friday is a day of sorrow, reminding us of the crucifixion of Christ. For Palestinians, the crucifixion reminds us in a very distinct way of our own pain and long standing suffering...
What an exciting and fruitful time it has been for Ramallah Friends Meeting (RFM) over the past six months and what a fulfilling time for those of us who seek to accompany them in the witness being made! As I share the highlights with you, I hope you can share in the deep sense of fulfillment – because it is your prayers and your generous financial support that have made the continuing Spirit-filled work possible. Your oil has fed the continuing flame of hope in Ramallah and they, in turn, provide oil for our lamps, helping us to remain steadfast in our commitment to accompany them in their struggle for peace and justice.
Once a year the Europe and Middle East Section (EMES) of the Friends World Committee on Consultation (FWCC) holds a Peace and Service consultation, inviting the many Quaker organizations in Europe and the Middle East who work to promote peace, prevent conflict, uphold human rights, advocate economic justice and environmentally sustainable living.
This year, the Ramallah Friends Meeting was pleased to be represented at the December 2016 consultation by Patricia Cockrell and Derek Brett --both steering committee members of the Friends of Ramallah Friends Meeting Quaker (FRFMQ).
Bearing Witness, Becoming Agents of Change in the World
Quaker Voluntary Action’s (QVA) annual trip to Ramallah has been a regular feature of their programming for many years. It usually takes place over 12 days in October. It is based in three geographical centres: Ramallah, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Whilst in Ramallah we attend the Meeting for Worship at the Meeting House and also visit the Friends Schools...
This second month of the year in Palestine is a time when the cold of winter begins to break. Between the hard stones which scatter the hillsides, life once dormant emerges once again. Within a few days, beautiful red poppies will carpet the surrounding fields as if to remind us that life abundant is always close by.
In this 2017 year, the wider Palestinian community will mark 50 years of military occupation and nearly 70 years since the beginning of the tragic displacement of the Palestinian people known as the Nakhba...
We write to encourage your continuing support of the dynamic ministries of Ramallah Friends Meeting. Even as the human and political situation continues to deteriorate through an ever tightening grip on the West Bank and Gaza, Sunday mornings at Ramallah Friends Meeting remain energetic and vital...We focus, in this letter, on Worship and the words of a few of those active in the Worshipping Community, as they share what it is in their experience that makes the Meeting and its ministries so precious to them.
Every day, in Palestine and throughout the Middle East, we seem to be talking about our children and the suffering they needlessly endure. Their plight lies heavy on our hearts and we worry about their future.
Our children are children of military occupation and they are children of war, whether they live in Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq or elsewhere...They wonder why we can no longer protect them. And we, the parents, extended family and caretakers, wonder out loud, “Do Middle Eastern children belong to a different God than does the rest of the world?”; “How can such horrors be tolerated?”
We greet you with joy in our hearts, giving gratitude for the enduring friendships which Ramallah Friends Meeting has experienced with many of you over the years. We thank you for your visits, for your words of encouragement, your prayers, and for your work in service for a wider measure of justice in the Middle East and throughout the world. Your friendship gives us hope.
We greet you in love, knowing that we are one in the Spirit and drawing upon our unity as a source of strength. We thank you for your commitment to nonviolence, for joining hands with those experiencing the injustice of systemic violence –wherever that may be. Your courage gives us hope.
Do not weep for me. No! Weep for yourselves and your children
This week, the worldwide Christian fellowship will turn its attention to the last days and hours of Jesus’ earthly life. Many will travel here to Palestine as pilgrims to participate in our spiritual observances. Once again, together and wherever we may be in the world, our thoughts will dwell upon his suffering. We will undoubtedly be moved by compassion as we allow ourselves to enter into both the horror and the wonderment of this experience....
Advent is upon us, my Friends. Wherever we find ourselves and regardless of our circumstance, this season beckons us to pause, to prepare our hearts, and to appreciate the Giver’s gifts ever more deeply. But how? How to pause and open our hearts when life is so hard and death so close?
In my first letter as Clerk of the Steering Committee of Friends of Ramallah Friends Meeting (Quaker) [FRRFMQ], I reach out with my greetings and appreciation to each one of you for your care and support of the ministries of Ramallah Friends Meeting (RFM). It is out of a sense of faithfulness and hope that I write - knowing that there are no guarantee of assured outcomes in these efforts, but also knowing that the unique contribution that FRM brings to the Palestinian community nurtures a culture of peace and nonviolence. What we can offer is a continuing presence and companiment of those who are on the midst of the struggle, day in and day out; we can offer our prayers and offer the material resources to support those on-going efforts.
Greetings and peace from Ramallah! As summer turns into autumn, I would like to take a moment to express my deep gratitude for your ongoing care and concern for the Ramallah Friends Meeting and, indeed, all the peoples of our beautiful and troubled region. Like you, we were deeply distressed to witness the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons –Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni, and Palestinians. Some are even double refugees, such as Palestinians displaced in 1948 who found refuge in Syria. Palestinian refugees in Syria were mainly living in Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus....
In all likelihood, each of you is aware of the most recent and continuing assaults on Gaza and the heart-breaking death and destruction with which Gazan families and friends presently live. The separation wall and the continuing occupation keep Palestinians and internationals separated from their families and friends in Gaza, making assistance, comfort and the solidarity of a shared presence impossible. This is not the first time and it may not be the last, so we must ask ourselves what we are called to say, to do, to be at this moment…this moment which matters so much to so many.