The Words of the Jenkins Family
Greetings From Jerusalem
June 27, 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have been in Jerusalem since Friday, June 22nd. The civil war in Gaza and the takover by one faction has completely changed the environment in the Middle East. There is a great deal of uncertainty and apprehension on all sides. Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority met in an emergency meeting in Sharm Al Sheikh in Egypt. There couldn't be a more important time for the Middle East Peace Initiative to be present here.
The momentum that was achieved through MEPI especially since the April conference with Hyun Jin Nim has been maintained. The central core of the MEPI foundation is our guiding principles that God must be in the equation for peace to be realized. That the core issue is faith and family and how to bring reconciliation between brothers. Our theme is "The Family of Abraham: One Family Under God."
Very high level delegates from Europe and the United States who have long years of experience on Capitol Hill and the Parliaments of many nations expressed a great deal of appreciation for the unique approach and contribution MEPI makes at this critical time. The role of people of faith and people of conscience play will determine the outcome of the Middle East struggle. Always throughout history it can be seen that the response of the people that God chose to work through and how they fulfilled their "calling" from God would determine whether nations would rise or fall.
MEPI is working to seek out those people of conscience who have strong ethical / moral principles for family, patriotism and desire for world peace. Some are elected officials, some are educators, women leaders, media professionals, legal and business professionals as well as religious leaders. Through interaction with our Ambassadors for Peace from America and Europe and based on the excellent work of our Ambassadors for Peace from the Holy Land - new people come in and are refreshed and given hope. Much of the hope comes from the consistency and frequency of the MEPI programs and the fact that important leaders who come from many nations strengthen the local Ambassadors for Peace by bringing concern and affirmation that as we unite together beyond boundaries and share the struggle to bring peace together - hope is felt and experienced.
Dr. Antonio Betancourt, UPF Director of International Relations together with UPF Secretary General Hod Ben Zvi, Mr. Bill Selig and Mr. Robin Marsh did an excellent job in developing panelists for our conference under the guidance of Dr. Yang, Dr. Walsh, Mr. Taj Hamad and myself together with local and international Ambassadors for Peace.
Our conference went to Tel Aviv this time and had a conference in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable - on the Mediterranean Sea at the Renaissance Hotel. Our conference room and dining areas had giant panoramic picture windows that allowed you to look out of the beautiful beaches and deep blue waters of the Mediterranean. It was refreshing. Our panels concentrated very specifically on understanding the Israeli perspective on the current situation. We had a number of very qualified and prestigious presenters - from a former Israeli General who was in command over Gaza and an Israeli Ambassador and a noted journalist.
Representatives who had backgrounds with high ranking positions in the foreign ministry and other posts gave their perspective as well as a well known media personality. There presentations were solid and hard hitting. Many expressed a great deal of apprehension over the current situation. All were pretty much in agreement that the situation is one of the most complicated and fragile on earth. To call it a tinder box is an understatement. The crosscurrents of the three Abahamic faiths intersect in Jerusalem and the rise of radicalism is very alarming not only to Israel but to its neighbors in Jordan, Egypt and Palestine. One former Israeli Ambassador is leading the way for dialogue between Israel and other Arab neighbors who have been seen as enemies. He said without dialogue there will be more war. He called for America to open up to the idea that we must engage our enemies through dialogue.
The second session was focused more on the spiritual and cultural perspectives on peace. The session began___resentation by Mr. David Eaton on the development of special peace performances that were done for peace with renowned vocalist and classical performing artist - David D'or. In addition to performing and recording the "Cantata for Peace" with Ms. resentation by Mr. David Eaton on the development of special peace performances that were done for peace with renowned vocalist and classical performing artist - David D'or. In addition to performing and recording the "Cantata for Peace" with Ms. ___ and the Ra'anana Orchestra in Tel Aviv, David D'or,
David Eaton and Seiko recently performed in Belgrade to an overflow audience before Ambassadors from 40 nations which was attended by members of the Royal family. David D'or opened our session on faith and peace with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Graze and "Summertime". The MEPI movement is expanding to many areas of the work for peace - David Eaton demonstrated that the efforts to build bridges of peace is greatly enhanced through performing arts for music is a universal language that all can understand and related to. He received applause as the audience broke into laughter when he said our motto is "Less Talk and more Music!!"
The panel on faith included key religious leaders who presented how the Non Violence movement changed the world. Rev. Walter Fauntroy gave a historic presentation on the work that was done in America to reconcile races and end the violence. He noted that there were over 60 unsolved bombings in Alabama at that time. The same tension was there. However it took leadership, especially spiritual leadership to touch the conscience of all people and move them to join in the peace efforts. He noted that many Rabbis came to the south and greatly enhanced the movement for equality and justice. He spoke about the all night session that he and Wyatt Tee Walker and others spent with Dr. King to work on the I Have A Dream Speech so that it could be reduced to the 8 minute slot that Dr. King was asked to hold to.
Following Rev. Fauntroy was Rabbi Yitzak Bar Dea - the chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan. He stirred the audience deeply. He stated that much of the problem comes from the fact that elected officials do not follow the fundamental principles of their own faiths when they try to govern. They try to achieve peace without faith and without God and adherence to core principles of faith and love. Because of that God cannot bless their efforts and peace is not achieved. He sighted what he believed was even a more serious problem - that that the religious leaders often do not have the courage to speak out to political leaders concerning what is right and wrong because they might lose some privilege.
The session ended with a most important presentation on the central role of education in bringing peace. It was a review of the Mar Elias school in the north of Israel that has Christian, Muslim and Jewish students. It offers K - 12 and a college with a Bachelors degree. The director of the school Dr. Moena did an excellent presentation on the documented work of the school creating an environment where children grow up as "One Family Under God". His PowerPoint presentation was very moving. It also showed that Archbishop Elias Chacour who is the Bishop over the Melkite Greek Catholic Church has received high marks from the Vatican and from the U.S. Particularly Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana has been a great supporter of the school and helped them establish an extension in which the students study in America (in Indiana) as part of their experience with Mar Elias.
This day of MEPI bore great fruit and we are deeply grateful to God for the amazing developments going on within the communities of Israel.