Archaeologists, historians, film-makers, theologians and other scholars and creative people gathered in Bethlehem recently to discuss how their disciplines can contribute towards change in Israel-Palestine.

Participants in the “Invention of History: A Century of Interplay between Theology and Politics in Palestine” conference hailed from around the world. Notably, a group of South Africans reflected on comparisons of the situation there with those in their country during apartheid.

Organized and hosted by the International Centre of Bethlehem, a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), the gathering at the end of August 2009 was third in a series of five designed to generate research, discussion and writings in support of a just resolution to the conflict.

Conference convener, the Rev Dr Mitri Raheb said there are already two publishers interested in publishing the papers presented at the conference.

The ELCJHL, with congregations in Israel, Palestine and Amman, Jordan, is the Middle East’s only Lutheran church. It describes itself as “witnessing to the gospel of Jesus Christ through word and service in conjunction with its many Lutheran partners around the world.”

ELCJHL is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Middle East Council of Churches and other internationally-recognized ecumenical organizations.