Reverend Kate Taber, PC(USA) Facilitator for Peacemaking and Mission Partnerships
Do you recognize her name?
Her gentle voice and expectant demeanor belie a focused purpose and strong determination to be an effective influence for peace and justice, particularly in the Middle East. Meet Reverend Kate Taber. Read her words and hear her passion: you will be moved to join the effort. “I want to help U.S. Presbyterians know and engage with Palestinian Christians: their lives, their ministries, their joys, and their struggles,” Kate says.

As the PCUSA mission representative to Israel/Palestine, Rev. Taber serves in ministry alongside Palestinian Christians. “I pray that [US Presbyterians] might provide solidarity to a population of Christians who feel forgotten by the rest of the world, because of their status as a religious minority and because of the particular struggles they face as ethnic Palestinians. Read more....

 Kate Tabor
 PC(USA) ministry in Israel/Palestine

Local Partnerships

Divan Center and the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies

Ten years ago White Memorial member Landy Anderton began meeting with members of the Turkish Divan Center in Cary, NC. The Center was founded by the Turkish-American Community of NC on the principle that dialogue is crucial in helping people settle differences, move forward as a community, and create a foundation of understanding.

Art Ross became involved with the Divan leaders and initiated joint White Memorial-Divan Center programs and activities. White Memorial members have since participated in many Divan Center activities, such as:
    • Annual Interfaith Dialogue Dinner
    • Cultural festivals
    • Film screenings
    • Arts and musical performances
    • International Women’s Day
    • Ramadan Iftar (end-of-the-day) meals
    • Ashura Holiday - Noah’s Pudding Meal
    • Turkish cooking classes
    • 12-day cultural trips to Turkey with Imams, Pastors, and Rabbis

Christopher Edmonston and members of our committee, chaired formerly by Don Munford and now Judy McConnell, have developed strong relationships with members of the Center. Christopher has led several Christian-Muslim panel discussions at the Center and at White Memorial with Imam Abdullah Antepli of Duke.

White Memorial members have collaborated in a Syrian Refugee Blanket Drive and are currently working on an Interfaith Habitat house-building project with members of the Divan Center. Members of the Divan Center have joined us for Sunday worship, Wednesday night dinners, and Ash Wednesday services. We value our friendships with these fellow members of the Abrahamic family who are not only devout Muslims but who also value religious and cultural diversity, education, women’s rights, and peace. Please join us at our next shared activity with them.

Temple Beth Or
The Middle East Peace and Justice Committee maintains an ongoing relationship with Temple Beth Or, a Reformed Jewish Congregation on Creedmoor Road. Temple Beth Or held Sabbath services in our sanctuary in the 1990’s while their temple was being renovated, and since that time, we have enjoyed sharing interfaith opportunities. Dinner has been generous in her time, speaking at Church Circles, with our groups going to Israel/Palestine, during our One God/Three Faith groups, and during joint interfaith gatherings.

The Joint Seder for young families on March 29, 2015 is the latest in a series of joint Seders, the last of which, in 2014, was attended by over 160 members of both congregations. Several other Seder meals have been held at White Memorial.

White Memorial was invited to the NC Museum of Art for a tour of the permanent collection of Judaic Art.

We have held joint hunger-related projects, and are actively exploring other opportunities for joint service, education and fellowship.

International Partnerships Elias Educational Institutes (MEEI)
Approximately 2500 students of Christian, Muslim and Druze heritage from all over the Galilee gather at Mar Elias schools to study together as one community of learning and service. Jewish teachers are on the faculty, and Mar Elias schools promote partnerships with Jewish schools and organizations. Chacour, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee and author of Blood Brothers and We Belong to the Land, founded Mar Elias Schools. Father Chacour realized that the future of the citizens of the state of Israel, and all of God’s children in the Holy Land, would depend on educating the young in the ways of peace, reconciliation, respect, and justice. Chacour's books are available in the church library. of Ibillin supports organizations, activities, and initiatives to help bring peace and reconciliation to the Holy Land. Their signature effort has been continuing support of the Mar Elias schools in Ibillin, Israel, near the Sea of Galilee. In February 2015, 215 high school students received certificates of commendation for earning top-level scores on their standardized exams.

Because 65% of the Palestinian students at Mar Elias schools need financial assistance, the White Memorial Middle East Peace and Justice Committee chose to fund scholarships at Mar Elias schools as its primary project. Since 2013, White Memorial has provided funds, through Pilgrims of Ibillin, to support 5 high school and 5 elementary scholarships. Mar Elias International Book Club (IBC) of Ibillin provides support through reading books, education and peace building projects. IBC provides the opportunity to build peace, while making connections and getting to know friends all around the world. White Memorial is currently developing a relationship with IBC of Ibillin for the 2015-2016 church year to include educational outreach to our congregation and a small group relationship with the Middle School ministry of White Memorial.

Resources about Israel-Palestine
Institute for Middle East Understanding - Fact Sheets
Jewish Voice for Peace - Israel/Palestine 101
Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, (USA) - Fact Sheets

Want to know more? Look for writings by the following authors for deeper study: Mitri Raheb, Ilan Pappe, Mark Braverman, Amira Hass, Naim Ateek, and Anna Baltzer.