What’s That Flag?

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Photo by K Knight. A lamp post in the north of England.

What have UK Christians got in common with UEFA and the International Olympic Committee? The Palestinian flag is increasingly visible in Britain today: whether on the football pitch, in news coverage of public protests, or simply in the possession of a local neighbour. Why is this? And how might it also affect you?

The complex issues of identity and religion, influence and ignorance are as old as the hills, yet they repeatedly find fresh expression in a new audience and context. Living online has become an international phenomenon by necessity during Covid lockdowns – overcoming some divisions but exacerbating others.

Recent mosque sermons, easily available on social media, have addressed the subject of Palestine, as violent events in Jerusalem escalated across the region. In Islam, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site, believed to be the location of the Muslim Prophet’s Night Journey of Qur’an 17:1. One popular preacher, with hundreds of thousands of viewers, urged all Muslims around the world to support their brothers in defending the mosque from Israeli forces and from “illegal evacuation of the Palestinians”. Citing the 178 injured and 88 hospitalised worshippers when the mosque was stormed on the final Friday prayers of Ramadan 2021, listeners heard of the rubber bullets, tear gas and bomb shells used and were invited to pray that Allah “will teach the enemies of Islam a lesson”.

A contrasting Eid message from Cambridge, which to date has reached an audience of nearly 180,000, also implored a response, but “not [of] vengefulness, not of exclusion against another exclusion.” It highlighted the terrible financial inequalities in the world; teaching, “the Sunnah position is that the poor come first; give, give, give”. Recalling the pleasure of his personal visit to Al-Aqsa, the preacher revelled in “the glory of that place that comes as a crown to the city”; and looked forward to a day when the Holy Land would be free – “Jew, Christian, Muslim, equal – able to live wherever they wish, no discrimination”.

The connection, for our Muslim neighbours, with the people and the place is clear and present. They then have to consider how to respond to the calls to support and give; perhaps by waving a Palestinian flag. At first, this might appear an unfamiliar response to UK Christians, but is it?

I wonder how many people in the UK would be able to locate Israel on a map; yet British society’s awareness is nurtured through annual traditions such as nativity plays, and for Christians, it is the setting of most of the Bible. There are Zionist theological positions which foster Christian support for the current Jewish citizens of Israel; and historic atrocities which inspire Christian sympathy for the Jews. To what extent would your life be perceived by some to be flying an Israeli flag?  Christian support for Palestinians is also evident, for example in the liturgy of Christian Aid’s ‘World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel vigil’ or organisations like Sebeel – Kairos; often these differing Christian perspectives reflect a level of association with evangelicalism.

So ‘What’s that flag’ mean to you? Does the sight of someone with a Palestinian flag attract or alienate you? Is your reaction a gospel bridge or barrier? God directed Samuel to look beyond the outward appearance, to the heart (1 Sam 16:7). Jesus the anointed Messiah is calling people into His spiritual Kingdom; into His family from every tongue, tribe and nation.  Do your actions raise a banner which says to others ‘Thy Kingdom come’?

Hot Topics ticket info

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“Hot Topics” ticketed events will start at 18:30 and finish at around 20:30 unless otherwise advertised.

There will be tea, coffee and water available.

These events will normally take place on the first floor of the Emmanuel Centre at Nazarene Theological College. The room will be signed from the entrance. For directions and more information about the college, please see the NTC (event venue) page.

This event will be ticketed due to likely high demand, and so all participants will need to purchase a ticket (suggested donation of £10). As these discussions are not generally designed for children to take part, no concessions will be offered.

If you feel the event is worth more than this, you are invited to give more if you can afford to, and to complete our Gift Aid form. This allows us to reclaim the UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax on your donation back from the government, making it worth more at no extra cost to you!

NB: If you have previously completed a Gift Aid Form for MCSCI you do not need to give us a new one. Limited exceptions apply – please ask for details if you are concerned.

Documents

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Bookstore opening: September

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The bookstore will be open…

Mon. 8 September 11:00-15:00
Thur 11 September 11:00-16:00
Tue. 16 September 11:00-16:00
Thur 18 September 11:00-16:00

… then Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-16:00 until further notice.

Alternative days or times may be possible by appointment.

We will soon be able to offer collection from the NTC library desk, and apologise if the delay in starting this service has inconvenienced you. Please check this page again for further updates.

Bookstore opening: August

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The bookstore will be

 

Closed from Friday 22 August until the second week of September

 

Reopens
Mon. 8 September 11:00-15:00
Wed. 10 September 11:00-16:30
… then Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-16:00 until further notice.

Alternative days or times may be possible by appointment.

We will soon be able to offer collection from the NTC library desk, and hope this may be in place by the end of August. Please check this page again for further updates.

Bookstore opening: July

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The bookstore will be open…

Thurs. 17 July 09:00-16:00
Friday 18 July 09:00-16:00
Tues. 22 July 11:00-16:00
Monday 28 July 14:00-16:00
Tuesday 29 July 11:00-16:00
Thurs. 31 July 11:00-16:00

… then Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00-16:00 until further notice.

Alternative days or times may be possible by appointment.

 

We realise such limited hours are not good for everyone; While we are currently unable to extend our hours, we will soon be able to offer collection from the NTC library. Details will be posted here soon.

Bookstore Opening Hours: May-June

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The bookstore will be open…

Thurs. 29 May 08:30-09:00, 11:00-16:00 (may be extended by appointment)

The bookstore will then be closed until mid-June. Orders will be accepted but collection will not be possible until…

Thurs. 19 June 11:00-17:00
Friday 20 June 11:00-16:00 (may be extended by appointment)
Mon.  23 June 11:00-16:00
        **Not Tuesday as previously stated**
Thurs. 26 June 11:00-16:00

 

We realise such limited hours are not good for everyone; not only will we review our bookstore hours in mid-June, we also hope to offer collection from the NTC Reception Desk and/or library soon.