Making a Difference: World Methodist Peace Award

 

10/23/2018

Tina Whitehead, volunteer missionary from WPA, recently returned to Jerusalem and was present at the Tent of Nations, south of Bethlehem, to witness Daoud Nassar and the Nassar Family being presented with the 2017 World Methodist Peace Award .

Tina Whitehead and Daoud Nassar with newly planted lemon tree.

On October 11, 2018, Bishop Ivan Abrahams of the World Methodist Council presented the prestigious award to the Nassar family, for their bridge-building efforts through the Tent of Nations on their 100-acre farm southwest of Bethlehem.  Past award recipients include Nelson Mandela, President Jimmy Carter, and Archbishop Elias Chacour, the only other Palestinian to have received the award (1994).  
At Tent of Nations, our mission is to build bridges between people, and between people and the land. We bring different cultures together to develop understanding and promote respect for each other and our shared environment.

Their farm is a  center where people from many different countries come together to learn, to  share, and to build bridges of understanding and hope.

The Nassar Family farm is in a highly disputed area of Palestine controlled by the Israeli government. The family remains on their land and shares their story of peace with guests from around the world. The family is not permitted to develop their farm for agricultural purposes; they do not have access to power, water, or sewer infrastructure, and may not obtain permits for any new buildings. They have instead come up with creative and sustainable alternatives.

Each summer, children from local villages (Christian and Muslim) participate in a summer camp aimed at giving the children freedom and distraction from the surrounding politics, empowering the children with self-confidence so that they can be a part of a better future for Palestine.

The family also established the Bent Al-Reef Women’s Centre to empower women through classes in English, computer, art, etc., and encourage them to play a role in shaping society.
German UMC Bishops Harald Ruckert and Rosemarie Wenner with Daoud Nassar

Each year hundreds of volunteers travel to Palestine, stay with the Nassar family and actively engage with working the land, participating and leading programs.

“It was a special moment for all of us to hear that the 2017 Peace Award is going to our family," said Daoud Nassar when he was first notified of the award.  "We are honored to receive this award. We will continue our struggle for justice with faith, love and hope, knowing that we are not left alone. We will also continue to cultivate the land and plant more seeds for a better and peaceful future. Together, we can make a difference.”

See more photos and connect with Tina Whitehead on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tina.whitehead.12