Easter Initiative to highlight sacredness of Jerusalem as well as obstacles to peace

While Christians around the globe prepare to celebrate Easter, high holidays for Muslims and Jews—Ramadan and Pessach—are also being celebrated at the same time period in 2022. At this confluence of sacred celebration, the very sacredness of Jerusalem is especially evident for locals and visitors alike. But the sacredness of the Holy City and its inhabitants is increasingly threatened by consequences of the ongoing occupation, such as discrimination and violence.

An Easter initiative by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (WCC-EAPPI) sets out to connect the sacredness of Jerusalem with what is sacred to us as human beings: home, worship, family, identity, human dignity and life, and solidarity. The Easter Initiative takes a look at how the sacredness of Jerusalem and its inhabitants is threatened today, shedding light on human rights violations that occur in Jerusalem and that are detrimental to the character of Jerusalem as the City of Peace for people of different religious and national backgrounds.

Through biblical reflection, prayer, advocacy engagement, and feature material highlighting present-day experiences in Jerusalem, churches and partners around the world are invited to engage with the different narratives around Easter, also together with their local communities.  

“This is truly an interreligious initiative in which we recognize the things that are sacred to all us, despite our differences,” said WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca. “We are deepening our understanding for one another by seeing Jerusalem through eyes other than our own.”

Sauca added:  “Jerusalem, symbol of the spiritual core of three religions, must become a city of peaceful coexistence, open to the world, embracing humanity and elevating human dignity,  based on human rights, as an example of the love of God for all.”

The Easter Initiative is designed to strengthen the search for a just peace in the Holy Land. 

Resources for inspiration—and action

The Easter Initiative includes materials that will help people understand the fabric of peace—and what is weakening it—in Jerusalem. Four types of tools are available:

Bible studies reflect on biblical texts connected to the sacredness of home, worship, family, identity, human dignity and life, and solidarity. Six Bible studies are designed for individual reflection or small discussion. Each Bible study includes a biblical text, short reflection, questions for leading a discussion, and a prayer.

Feature stories focus on current examples of human rights abuses in and around Jerusalem.

Advocacy talking points help people learn more about to take action for change. Six advocacy talking points help lift up a call to action.

Social media cards are available for download and sharing.

“Through these combined efforts, we want to provide opportunities for churches and partners around the globe to join hands in fostering hope and bringing peace,” said Sauca. “The Easter narrative offers us precisely this opportunity, to reflect on Jerusalem as a sacred place for so many, and to see the injustices of today, provide accompaniment and offer protective presence to suffering communities, but also to tackle the root causes of such injustice, as we know that occupation continues to profoundly and negatively impact the lives, livelihoods, and human rights of the Palestinian people.”