The Living Stones Solidarity Award will be presented to US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the First Presbyterian Church of Houston for their Moral and Financial contributions to preserving Christians and Christian heritage in the Holy Land.
Press Release (For immediate release)
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)
July 25, 2000
<b>The Living Stones Solidarity Award will be presented to US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the First Presbyterian Church of Houston for their Moral and Financial contributions to preserving Christians and Christian heritage in the Holy Land. </b>
A Living Stones Solidarity Award will be presented to the First Presbyterian Church of Houston, Texas. This congregation has been a national leader in the effort to support Christians living in Christianity’s birthplace. It has organized pilgrimages to Holy Land Biblical sites and established relationships between American congregations, institutions and individuals and partners in the Holy Land. The congregation’s members provided generous financial support for economic development projects and scholarship aid for young Christians living in the Holy Land. Ms. Marilyn Borst, of Houston, Texas will accept the award on behalf of her congregation.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will receive a Living Stones Solidarity Award for its advocacy efforts to provide spiritual, moral and financial support for Christian institutions in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. The USCCB established an active relationship with the Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Land, Assembly of Bishops and the Council of Patriarchs through the Office of Justice and Peace. It has been a vigorous advocate for the defense of Christian rights, the human rights of all Palestinians and support of a just peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. The USCCB has worked with other U.S. church leaders in developing joint positions and advocacy for the rights of all those living in the Holy Land. Archbishop Edward McCarick, of Newark, New Jersey will accept the award on behalf of the USCCB and is the keynote speaker for the awards banquet on October 21,2000.
An HCEF Award will be given to Mr. Don Kruse, former American Consul to Jerusalem and member of the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC, and Father Labib Kobti, pastor of St. Ann’s Church in San Francisco and editor of www.al-bushra.org. These individuals have been highly successful in alerting American Christians to the discriminatory practices endured by both Christian and Muslim Palestinians in the Holy Land. Both individuals organized pilgrimages of American parishioners to meet with and establish solidarity with Holy Land Christians. These efforts have given hope and sustenance to the descendents of Christians who first followed Christ.
The Awards will be given at the Second Annual National Conference of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation on October 20, 21, 2000 at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. The conference: The Future of the Holy Land: A Cry for Justice is part of a continuing effort by HCEF to alert American Christians to real possibility that the descendents of the original Christians will become extinct in their ancestral homeland in the very near future. Experts predict, based on a declining Christian population in the Holy Land, that without major changes, by 2020 the holy sites, where Jesus lived, walked and taught, will become museums, without the loving care of living Christians,” Rateb Rabie, HCEF president said in announcing the conference. “This is not just a Middle Eastern question; American Christians have a vital interest to support our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land as well as sustain the very foundations of our common Christian heritage”.
The Second National Conference will celebrate the central role of Jerusalem and the continued relevance of that city to Christian Americans. Speakers from the Holy Land will highlight current political developments in the Holy Land that affect the native Christians and the Mother Church of Jerusalem. The Conference will reinvigorate Christian efforts to maintain a Christian presence in the land of Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. The speakers will educate Americans about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land and encourage Christians, churches and concerned organizations to join the Holy Land Support Network and thereby give hope to Holy Land Christians and their churches.
Speakers from the Holy Land include Right Reverend Riah Abu el-Assal, Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Jerusalem, Archbishop Lutfi Leham, Archbishop, Greek Catholic, Melkite Rite, Jerusalem, H.E. Afif Safieh, Palestinian National Authority Representative to the United Kingdom and the Holy See, Archimandrite Theodosios Hanna, Greek Patriarchate, Jerusalem, H.E. Marwan Muasher, Jordanian Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Robert Seiple, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State, Rev Craig Barnes, Pastor of the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC and other experts on the Holy Land.