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Building interfaith understanding in the Middle East

Date: 28 June 2017

Jerusalem CathedralThe Revd Carole Bourne, formerly of St Mary's, East Molesey and rural dean of Emly, is preparing to travel to the West Bank this summer to work as an human rights observer to those living under occupation.

Carole will be based in Tulkarm as an Ecumenical Accompanier (EA), working with local Palestinian and Israeli groups to monitor any human rights abuses and support the vulnerable. This could involve accompanying children to school, helping to ensure that access to land and water is protected and maintaining a presence at checkpoints in the security barrier.

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was established by the World Council of Churches in 2002 at the request of leaders of different faiths in Jerusalem to provide a presence of ‘principled impartiality’ in the area. EAs come from all over the world to work in different areas of Palestine and Israel. Volunteers from the United Kingdom are supervised by the Quakers, who handle organisation and training.

Carole is no stranger to working in the Middle East, having spent two months working at St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem in 2015. As a result she is conscious of the need to build trust and co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians. She said: “If peace could be achieved here, the area would be able to use the skills and talents of both communities to become a beacon of achievement and an inspiration to the rest of the region.”

On her return to the UK in September, Carole will report back on her trip. She will be happy to visit local groups and talk about her experiences in the occupied territories. Carole can be contacted at

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