Lutheran Holy Land Bishop Younan to get Canadian peace work award

(Photo: ELCJHL / Elizabeth McHan)A teacher and students at Dar al-Kalima Evangelical Lutheran School in Bethlehem, West Bank.

Bishop Munib A. Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land is to receive a Canadian award for peace work in the Holy Land.

On October 22, Younan, the president of the Lutheran World Federation, will receive the 2014 Civis Mundi Award in Waterloo, Canada.

It was created by the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (WLS) to recognize people who are role models for others especially for young people on their responsibilities as global neighbors and citizens.

"It [the award] tells us, 'Don't grow tired. Continue your good work to bring peace based on justice, to combat any types of extremism, and to continue to strengthen Christians in this county,"' Younan said prior to the event.

Younan said the award he will receive in Canada for dedication to building peace in the region is recognition and appreciation for the efforts of both the ELCJHL and the global Lutheran communion in bringing peace based on justice.

Those working for peace in the Middle East, he noted, must ally themselves with moderate voices.

"We cannot allow the extremist voices to overpower us. If we remain quiet and complacent, it will be the moderates who allow extremism to grow and take hold," said Younan.

Religion must be part of the solution to the problems of the Middle East said the Lutheran leader.

"Don't use the Bible, the Torah or the Quran to transform a political disagreement into a religious conflict."

The WLS is an educational institution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

National Bishop Susan C. Johnson said the recognition of Younan's work is a sign of the ongoing partnership between the two churches and of their relationship as sister churches in the LWF communion.

"Advocating for peace and justice is part of our ongoing commitment both in our country and around the world," said Johnson, who is also the LWF Vice-President for North America.

As people of faith and Christ's disciples, Christians must speak prophetic truth to power. "Where we can speak together with ecumenical or interfaith partners we can have a stronger voice," she said.

The seminary's principal, Rev. David Pfrimmer, noted that Younan's perspective can help the Canadians "understand the constructive role Christians and people of faith can play in supporting" the Holy Land peace process.

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