NIGERIA RELIGIOUS LEADERS ROUNDTABLE ON PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND OF ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND PROSPECT FOR JUSTICE PILGRIMAGE
Wednesday 09 APRIL
14:00 Hour- Arrival
18:00 Hour- Welcome Gathering and watching of the film- KAIROS PALESTINE
20:00- Brief comment on the film
Thursday 10 APRIL
9:00 Introductory remarks/ re-caps by organizer
The search for a just peace in Palestine is urgent. While the world talks, Israeli settlement building continues unabated with the borders of any future state of Palestine literally collapsing. Pilgrimage presents a strategic avenue for just peace advocacy and its potential continues to be tapped and developed. This religious roundtable on Pilgrimage to the Holy land of Israel/Palestine and Prospect for Justice pilgrimage is the third in a series of advocacy efforts on promoting and supporting Christianity in Palestine, with a view of achieving justice and defending the rights of Palestinians.
9:45-12:45 SESSION 1:
THE STATUS OF CHRISTIANITY IN THE HOLY LAND OF ISRAEL/PALESTINE: EFFECT OF OCCUPATION
“The Bible begins the story of salvation by telling how God called Abraham to leave his home and his people, and apparently also his ancestral gods, and to become a pilgrim, and how he promised that through Abraham and his descendants blessing would come to all the nations…The true sons of Abraham … know themselves to be a pilgrim people who have here no permanent quarters. … The Church … has understood itself more as an institution than as an exhibition. It’s typical shape … has been not a band of pilgrims who have heard the word ‘Go’, but a large and solid building which, at its best, can only say ‘come’.’’
· The Global effort and status of promoting just peace
· Prospects for moving the agenda forward in established forums
· Positions, Initiatives and priorities on promoting peace in Holy land
12:45 -13:00 Coffee Breaks
13:00-15:00 Session 2
THE NIGERIA PILGRIMAGE APPROACH TO HOLY LAND JUSTICE/PEACE ISSUE
· The concept of Pilgrimage Theology
· Pilgrimage as a tool for Peace and support
· How contextual and ethical is pilgrimage from Nigeria, in the face of Ignoring Occupation?
16:10 -19:10- Film : “The Village under The forest”, Discussion and comments on the film
Friday 11 APRIL
09-00-13:00: SESSION 3
THE ROLE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN PROMOTING JUSTICE PILGRIMAGE
A pilgrimage can be thought of as a micro-journey by means of which one explores the macro-journey of one’s life. Thus Christian Pilgrimage to Israel would be aimed at helping one to live out the Gospel more comprehensively when one returns to one’s daily life. It is vital that this connection with the whole of life is present in pilgrimage: the journey in, as it were, becomes the foundation for the journey out. And this should be true not just at a personal level but at a communal and societal one too.
· Opening this session with Sabeel film- “The Stones Cry Out”
· Nigeria-specific issues and effect of the traditional Pilgrimage system
· How to involve Churches in the organization of Pilgrimage from Nigeria
· How can Churches take ownership of Pilgrimage to address injustice in the Holy lnd of Israel/Palestine
13:00-13:30 Coffee break
13:45-15:00 SESSION 4:
THE ROLE OF NIGERIA CHRISTIAN IN ADVANCING A FREE PALESTINE
It is a scandal, and pilgrimage of a much distorted sort, when so many Christians visit Jerusalem without a second thought about the Church in Israel/Palestine and the suffering in the Middle East. In his fascinating From the Holy Mountain, William Dalrymple exemplifies a healthier type of pilgrimage in the Holy Land. In the context of his arrival in Jerusalem he is attentive to the change in the fortunes of Christians in the old city. In 1992, 52 per cent were Christian; now Christians make up fewer than 2.5 per cent of the population. In the context of his pilgrimage in Jerusalem, Dalrmple connects the ancient Christian sites to present-day oppression of Christians in Israel/Palestine by the Israel government. Without the local Christian population, the most important shrines in the Christian world will be left as museum pieces, preserved only for the curiosity of tourist. Christianity will no longer exist in the Holy Land as a living faith; a vast vacuum will exist in the very heart of Christendom.
If Christians are genuinely concerned to follow Jesus who was born and died in Israel, then like him, they need to take the whole of life, including politics, seriously. The Old Testament prophets were deeply concerned for justice in Israel and, while human bombs are immoral and unacceptable, so too is Israel oppression of the Palestinians. Part of all Christian pilgrimage to Israel ought as a matter of principle to connect with these issues.
· Exploring ways to support the Boycott Divestment and Sanction strategy
· The role of Nigeria in promoting Just Peace in Israel/Palestine
· Justice Pilgrimage- where do we go from here?
Communiqué, closing/ concluding remarks
15: 00-16:00 LUNCH
16:30- 17:00- Media interview with Religious leaders on Corruption in the Nigeria Pilgrimage System