Date: 28 December, 2017
Watch Fr. Dr. Michel Jalakh, Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and President at the Antonine University in Lebanon, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Founder and President of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, and Rev. Najla Kassab, President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and ordained minister in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon in conversation with CMEP’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, discussing the current realities faced by Christians living in the Holy Land.
Fr. Dr. Michel Jalakh is an Antonine monk in the Maronite Catholic Church, serves as the Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches. He has dedicated his life and career to the study of the special role of Eastern Christianity and to advancing the ecumenical movement–especially in the Middle East. In addition to these ecclesiastical roles, Fr. Dr. Michel Jalakh is president of the Antonine University in Lebanon and is an external expert to the World Council of Churches’ Peace Building in Situations of Violence Theme Group and to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Rev. Najla Kassab is President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and Director of the Christian Education Department for the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL). She obtained her B.A. in Christian education from the Near East School of Theology (NEST) in 1987 and her Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1990. In 1993 Rev. Kassab received the first preaching license offered to a woman by NESSL. In March 2017, she became the second woman to be ordained as a minister in NESSL. For the past two-and-a-half decades Rev. Kassab has worked with NESSL’s women and children’s ministries, including as Director of Christian Education. She was elected to the WCRC Executive Committee at the 2010 Uniting General Council. For more information on Rev. Najla Kassab’s organization go to www.wcrc.ch.
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb is the Founder and President of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem. A widely published Palestinian theologian, he is the author of 16 books to date including, I am a Palestinian Christian; Bethlehem Besieged, and Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes. Rev. Dr. Raheb is the recipient of the prestigious Olof Palme Prize, the ToDo Award for socially responsible tourism, and the Wittenberg Award for distinguished service to church and society. As a social entrepreneur, Rev. Dr. Raheb has also founded several NGOs including Dar Annadwa Cultural and Conference Center, Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, in addition to several other civic initiatives on national, regional, and international levels. For more information on Rev. Dr. Raheb’s work go to www.brightstarsbethlehem.org.
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon is the Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). Cannon has several masters degrees and earned her doctorate in American History with a minor in Middle Eastern studies at the University of California – Davis, focusing her dissertation on the history of the American Protestant church in Israel and Palestine. Her several publications about the conflict include the upcoming volume A Land Full of God: Christian Perspectives toward the Holy Land (Cascade, 2017). She is the author of the award winning Social Justice Handbook (IVP) and other books on spirituality and justice. For more information on CMEP go to www.cmep.org.