This group, lead by Rev. David Chesney, picks non-fiction books to discuss in-depth over several sessions. We plan to start with A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict, by Naim Stifan Ateek.

Addressing what many consider the world's most intractable conflict, Naim Ateek offers a succinct primer on the theology of liberation in the context of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination. From the historical roots of this struggle, Ateek shows how the memory of the Holocaust has served to trump the claims and aspirations of the native inhabitants, and how later Israeli occupation and settlements in the West Bank have contributed to their suffering and oppression.

As a Christian theologian himself, Ateek shows how Western Christian support for Israeli claims to the land rely on a particular and exclusivist reading of the Bible. In contrast, a Palestinian theology of liberation responds with a counter-strategy for biblical interpretation, one that emphasizes the prophetic themes of inclusivity and justice. Ateek concludes by providing broad principles of achieiving security, peace, and justice for all the peoples in Israel/Palestine.


Our second book will be Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto.

When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their pleasant life in Vancouver starting to fade away after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Ralph found himself one of the many Canadians captured by the Japanese in December 1941. He would live out his war in a prison camp, enduring beatings, starvation, electric feet and a journey on a hell ship to Japan, watching his friends and countrymen die all around him. Mitsue and her family were ordered out of their home and were packed off to a work farm in rural Alberta, leaving many of their possessions behind. By the end of the war, Ralph was broken but had survived. The Sakamotos lost everything when the community centre housing their possessions was burned to the ground, and the $25 compensation from the government meant they had no choice but to start again.

Forgiveness intertwines the compelling stories of Ralph MacLean and the Sakamotos as the war rips their lives and their humanity out of their grasp. But somehow, despite facing such enormous transgressions against them, the two families learned to forgive. Without the depth of their forgiveness, this book's author, Mark Sakamoto, would never have existed.


Copies of the books may be obtained by contacting the church office.