Christian Communities in the Middle East
Jerusalem University College
Dr. Petra Heldt
November 10, 2003
"Cooperation of Churches in the Middle East"

I.   What do you need for cooperation
A.   Freedom of action
B.   Common purpose (or enemy)
C.   A wealth/security that goes beyond survival as the primary concern
II.   A look through time at the cooperation of the churches
A.   373-638 - Rome controls the area and given Constantine's conversion makes it a quite successful time for the church in this area
B.   638-1917 - Muslim controls the area (1250-ff controlled by Ottomans)
C.   1917-48 - British controls the area
D.   1948-67 - Israel fights for control of the area
E.   Since 1967 the church has had the "three ingredients" in which to start cooperating with one another
III.   The Greek Orthodox church is the strongest Christian church here in Israel
A.   They own a ton of land - including the land the Knesset sits on
B.   This makes them "fairly" powerful in the area
C.   The Greek Orthodox has very good relations with the Armenian church
IV.   Modern Organization of "Inter-denominational" Communities within Israel
A.   JIC - Jerusalem Inter-church Committee (Pro-Palestinian)
B.   Circle of Ecumenical Friends (Pro-Palestinian)
C.   Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity (Officially neutral)
D.   International Christian Embassy (Pro-Israel)
1.   In 1981 all the countries of the world moved there embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv because of a law that established that Jerusalem was not politically established enough
2.   This organization formed as if to say we will still recognize as Israel's capital
3.   They are in charge of the Feast of Succoth dinner - one, if not the, largest events in Israel
4.   This year it was broadcasted into 250 different countries
5.   They are VERY supportive of Israel
a.   JIC (Jerusalem Inter-church Committee) and the Circle of Ecumenical Friends are very much against it because they are Pro-Palestinian
b.   Ecumenical theological research fraternity does not make a political stance per se - but probably sides slightly to Israel
E.   The strange thing is that for the first time in almost 1400 years, Christians have an immense change to come together and do some good in the region, yet the ironic thing is that they continue to divide amongst each other because of the Israel/Palestinian conflict
V.   Middle East Christian Collation Communities
A.   Association of Theological education In the Middle East (ATIME)
B.   Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) - 1974