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Update - June 9, Churchwide Initiative in Response to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Last Sunday was an important day in the life of FUMC as we lifted up two important events highlighting that our dedication to social justice is a very personal and communal calling. We celebrated the sacred union of our dear friends, Ben Chambers and Kyle Duff, with a delightful Pittsburgh Cookie Table during the fellowship hour. Ben and Kyle were married at our church three weeks ago and we wanted to celebrate with them as they United Methodist Church has recently removed the barriers to gay marriage. We also lifted up the marriage a week ago of Amy Pretzer and Josue Santana who were married in Ohio recently and had just returned from their honeymoon. Many donations of cookies were received and we than all who made this event a glorious celebration.

We also had a great response to our first program for the Churchwide Initiative in Response to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. It was an honor to host Nadine Hafaitha, a graduate student at Pitt Law, who told her personal story of growing up in the West Bank, the obstacles faced in daily life heightened by the Israeli-Hammas War in Gaza. Her friend, who recently fled Gaza with her sisters and mother to take refuge in Egypt while her father remained in Rafah, zoomed in to give us her personal account of hardship and loss. Both women shared their hope that we would see Palestinians not as numbers killed or collateral damage of politics and war, but as individual people with human dignity who love their families and have hope and resilience. When asked what we could do to help they requested that we continue to learn about them and their lives.

We thank those who attended this program and those who helped with planning, publicity and serving the lunch. We were blessed with many helping hands but want to give special recognition to Meg Carr who came early and stayed late to supervise the kitchen (as she so often does). Mezze Restaurant catered the fabulous selection of Mideastern foods and stayed to help serve. Their generous support is appreciated and we hope that members of the community will support their new restaurant on 5700 Centre Avenue just a few blocks from the church.

With deep gratitude,

Mary and Ron Brand


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