Tony Greenstein | 05 June 2012 | Post Views:

Speaking Tour of Father Raed Awad Abusaliah

I must confess an interest.  Living Stones, the Christian Charity dedicated to support of Palestinian Christians was founded by Father Michael Prior, who was if I remember correctly, Vice-Principal of St. Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham – a sleepy teacher training college where I obtained my PGCE (teaching post-grad certificate) in 1980-1.  Father Michael Prior interviewed me.  I had been blacklisted my Brighton Polytechnic and Sussex University after having completed 2 years as sabbatical officer, as a trouble maker.

 Fortunately Michael Prior quite took to trouble-makers!  I was the only Jewish student in a Roman Catholic college, which then was a tad right-wing, but my course was on the left.  There was a formal debating society where I spoke quite often, led by another Catholic liberation priest Fr. Duncan MacPherson, who was also President of the Twickenham Trades Council.

It was good to land, quite by chance, in a college whose leading lights were so sympathetic to the Palestinians and the mantle is now taken up, by among others, Professor Nur Masalha.  So I am pleased in a small way to publicise the tour of Fr. Raed Abusahlia.

There is an irony in the Christians of Palestine being abandoned by their ‘brothers and sisters’ in the West – people like Stephen Sizer excepted of course.  But it is actually no irony.  Religion has always been political and American Fundamentalist Protestantism has always been the ideological cover for the most barbaric and racist forms of imperialism.  Starting with the slave trade which it supported and segregation and the Ku Klux Klan, Southern White Christianity has always been a racist species of thought and it is no accident that in the name of the ‘return’ of the Jews – and they do belive in ‘returning Jews to Palestine’ they turn their back on the most oppressed Christians.

Religion has always been a reflection of society’s politics.  It goes with the grain  In Germany Christian Churches, especially the Protestants, supported Hitler.  In Lithuania and Latvia they openly collaborated.  In Denmark and Bulgaria they actively opposed the Nazis.  In Ireland, the Pope supported the Protestants at the Battle of the Boyne and William of Orange because of course Protestantism in Ireland was reactionary from its inception.

So as a Jewish atheist I am more than happy to lend a hand!

Tony Greenstein

Father Michael Prior

Father Raed Awad Abusaliah
Rev Stephen Sizer


UK  SPEAKING TOUR (June 10-17)

Born in Zababdeh in Palestine, Abuna Raed was ordained priest by the Latin Patriarch in 1990 and began his priestly ministry in parishes in Jordan. After completing higher studies in philosophy at the Lateran University in Rome, Father Raed served as Professor of Philosophy at the Latin Seminary at Beit Jala and as Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, until appointed parish priest of the Latin Church in Taybeh (biblical Ephraim) in the Palestinian West Bank, where he is active in initiatives for peace and justice such as the “Olive Branch Foundation” and “Lamps for Peace in the Holy Land”.

Public meetings and Church Services
Friday June 8
Father Raed arrives in England

Saturday June 9
Guest of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre for their annual Mass at Southwark Catholic Cathedral and lunch afterwards

Sunday June 10
10.00 Mass and meeting at 4.00pm, Saint Philip Howard Catholic Church, 33 Walpole Road, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge,

Monday June 11
Ecumenical service and address for ‘Churches Together’ at 7.00pm. Holy Family and All Saints Catholic Church, Guithavon Street, Witham

Tuesday June 12
Churches Together around Hampton’ public meeting, St Mary’s Parish Church, Thames Street, Hampton, Middlesex

Wednesday June 13
4.00 pm
‘Michael Prior Memorial Lecture’ Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square (Near High Street Kensington Underground) 
“Peace and Justice: a Christian Viewpoint from the Holy Land”

Thursday June 14
Evening meeting at 7.30pm in Church of Scotland, Freeland Church, Main Street, Bridge of Weir.

Friday June 15 Evening meeting at 7.30 Evening meeting at 7.30 at Saint Simon’s Polish Catholic Church, Partick, Glasgow (near the University and Kelvin Hall Subway)

Saturday June 16 Ealing Abbey, Charlbury Grove, Ealing, preaching at Saturday evening Mass at 6.00pm and address to parish meeting at 7.30pm

Sunday June 17 preaching at 12.00 Mass at Ealing Abbey before departure

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