The pages in this section are included because so little current information about the situation is available. Myths have been put forth and Commonly Asked Questions is designed to answer those myths.
Short pieces on Christianity, Islam and Judaism are included because it is important to know the basics about these three religions and the Middle East.
Word, words, words is designed to help you use words about the Middle East more correctly and also to help you question other people's use of these words. The act of naming anything is very powerful and deliberate false naming has been used to discredit various people and groups.
Finally the study groups section contains ideas for using these materials and others in your local church or organization for adult or youth education.
The Resources at Home section is where you should look for lists of information such as websites, names and contact information about people. It is also your guide to reaching out in advocacy, in travel, and in learning more about Israel/Palestine.
For one of these categories click on the left. To see the whole group of possibilites, click on the Site Map on the header.
Who is in charge here?
One other piece of information which you might like to know is "Who is in charge here?" I am not an organization but an individual who has been working with churches and organizations. I felt the need for more comprehensive information and resources from a Christian source.
I am the Rev. Dr. Betty Jane Bailey, a United Church of Christ clergyperson, "retired". I have spent my life as an ecumenical person including being baptized in a Presbyterian Church; attending a Baptist Sunday School; being confirmed in the Evangelical and Reformed Church; attending a United Methodist College; marrying a member of the Congregational Christian Churches (anticipating the United Church of Christ merger by a few years); and graduating from an E&R seminary; a United Methodist seminary; and a Presbyterian seminary.
Beyond my own denomination, I have worked in an Episcopal Church and for an Episcopal Diocese as well as a Presbyterian Presbytery. As time went on I wrote about the Russian Orthodox Church; worked for a Roman Catholic institution and, after bragging for years that I had related to every major Christian group except the Lutherans, I became a part of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem for three and a half years. I even spent tome time working for the Lutheran bishop.
Working with the Middle East Council of Churches in Jerusalem also brought me in contact with many other groups. My denominational wanderings were not a result of ecclesiastical promiscuity but rather a conviction that we are all part of one Body of Christ, sharing our gifts with one another.
I spent 3 ½ years as a volunteer in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. All of that time was in an ecumenical setting and part of it included helping travelers, pilgrims and other peripatetic church people meet and hear the stories of local Christians. It resulted in the conviction that much work still needed to be done in "sending countries" to convince Christians that there was more to the Holy Land than the ancient stones. There were live Christian communities there eager to share with Western Christians and that most mass tourism simply ignored this. My mission and ministry is to help people adopt alternatives to mass tourism and to build solidarity with the Christians of the Holy Land through information and resources.
Tourism has changed since 2000 because of the recent incursions by the Israelis and the curfews imposed. Travelers cannot easily get to many places and religious sites and church-owned institutions have been shelled. But people do visit and continue to express their solidarity with the Christian of the Holy Land. It is sorely needed.
Over the years I have had six books published, including the Friendship Press study guide on the Middle East, From the Beginning, and the Friendship Press study guide about the USSR, Eyes to See, Ears to Hear. Two other books were on youth and worship.
In the spring of 2003, Wm. B. Eerdman's published a book called Who are the Christians in the Middle East? which my husband and I wrote together. It explains the various Churches (denominations) and their history; it contains a country-by-country review of how Christians fare; and it contains a timeline and several articles. Again all royalties go to the MECC.
My book, Living Stones Pilgrimage with the Christians of the Holy Land contains information to help you connect with the Christians and their issues. Even with the severe restrictions by Israel, much of it is still valid. In the USA it is available at American for Middle East Understanding AMEU@aol.com for $14.50 including postage. Their phone number is 1-212-870-2053. It is also available at the American Educational Trust for $13.50 plus postage. Call them at 1-800-368-5788 or order on website at www.middleeastbooks.com .
In the UK the book may be ordered from Continuum-Orca Book Services at Stanley House, 3 Fleets Lane, Poole, Dorset BH15 3AJ Call them at 01202-665432 or Fax: 01202-666219. All royalties go to the Middle East Council of Churches.
I am one of the United Church of Christ NGO representatives at the United Nations and am a part of several working groups, including Israel/Palestine and Iraq.
I am working on a book which will help travelers to the Holy Land in their worship experiences and help bring to congregations in the United States and UK some of the rich worship resources of the Middle East.
I used to send out an Email newsletter but health problems meant I had to stop doing it. You can get some information at FOSNA about upcoming trips.
After you check out this website, if you still have questions you can reach me by Email at BJBailey1@aol.com (don't forget the digit 1 after the name).