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By Rev. Jody Topping, pastor Faith UMC, Phoenix

A Very Special Event at Faith United Methodist Church: “We Refuse to be Enemies” presented by Mr. Daoud Nassar from The Tent of Nations.

On March 11, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Faith United Methodist Church will host a very special guest: Mr. Daoud Nassar, one of the brothers whose family owns and operates The Tent of Nations, an educational and environmentally conscious farm located in the West Bank of Israel.

The Tent of Nations, is a 100 acre farm located 6 kilometers from Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and is surrounded on three sides by Israeli Settlements. The Nassar family has owned and operated the farm since 1916…over 100 years. And yet, the family has been involved in a legal battle since 1991 when the farm was classified as “Israeli State Land” and thus threatened with confiscation. Their goal is simply to retain what they believe rightfully belongs to their family, and they are working toward that goal in a peaceful and diplomatic manner.

As an Ambassador of good will, Mr. Nassar travels to the United States and speaks at various venues under the sponsorship of an organization called Friends of Tent of Nations North America (fotonna.org). He shares the story of his family’s commitment to living a life of non-violent resistance, and refusing to be enemies in the face of continuing obstacles that they, and most Palestinians, face in their search for a normal life. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biblical Studies from the Bethlehem Bible College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the Bethlehem University, and a degree in Tourism Management from Bielefeld University in Germany. He also speaks and understands several languages, including Arabic, German, Hebrew, and English.

During their Holy Land Pilgrimage last October, Rev. Jody Topping, Pastor at Faith UMC, and her husband, David Topping, visited the Tent of Nations farm in Palestine. They met with Daoud’s brother, Daher, and learned about the difficulties their family and Palestinian friends in the region face every day at the hands of the Israeli government. They were struck by the family’s commitment to peaceful resistance and their desire to create a space where people of all nations, races, and religions can meet, learn, and work together. They refuse to be enemies and instead choose to channel their pain and frustration with an unjust system into positive actions that will build relationships and a better future.

Mr. Nassar will be speaking at Faith United Methodist Church, located at 8640 N. 19th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ on March 11 at 4pm. His presentation, which will include time for questions and answers from the audience, will be followed by a meal during which we hope our conversations with Mr. Nassar and each other will continue. As part of the church’s commitment to building bridges through understanding and dialogue, we look forward to Mr. Nassar’s visit and invite people from other churches and the community to attend this important event.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by March 7th by calling the church office at 602-943-3465. A suggested donation of $15 per person is requested to cover the cost of the meal as well as a portion of Mr. Nassar’s travel expense.

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