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March photography exhibit, ‘Palestine: Unlimited,’ presents current images of Bethlehem

 Staff report
SALISBURY — St. John’s Lutheran Church will be host for a unique photography exhibit by 10 young Palestinian artists and media students from Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem March 6-25.
In connection with the exhibit, titled “Palestine: Unlimited,” there will be an opening reception and an “Interfaith Conversations That Matter” panel discussion Saturday, March 10, from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
The discussion’s theme is “Move Beyond Stereotypes, Enter Hope.” Panelists will represent Christian, Jewish and Muslim perspectives.
On March 10 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Faith Center, the panel discussion will include Bishop Tim Smith, Mitch Siegel, Mohamed Eliwa and Pastor Rhodes Woolly.
That same evening, prior to the panel, two spirituality and art discussions will be led the by Center for Faith and the Arts board member Dr. Susan Lee, who will provide guidance on meditative viewing, starting at 6:45 and 7 p.m.
St. John’s Lutheran Church is located at 200 W. Innes St., and the curated exhibit will be in the church’s Peeler Hall (new addition).
“Palestine: Unlimited” will transform the walls of Peeler Hall into a photo gallery presenting the winners from Dar al-Kalima’s first photographic competition.
“You will be surrounded by moving and thought-provoking images of life in today’s
Bethlehem, which has been surrounded by Israel’s Separation Wall since 2002,” a press release on the exhibit says. “This year Palestine is experiencing its 50th year of military occupation, the longest occupation in modern history.
“These photographs by young Palestinians reveal their talents and hopes that thrive
behind, and in spite of, the Separation Wall. The poster photo of a young girl
reaching upwards against the background of a wall, beyond the limitations of her
situation, illustrates poignantly the hope and dreams of a child’s unlimited
aspirations, a spirit of determination to rise above her limiting circumstances.”
Other photos portray traumas of home demolition and disappearances of loved ones;
strong, proud, aspiring youth; weary elders at work and prayer; perplexed, innocent
children robbed of their childhood by an ubiquitous military presence.
“But their strength of character and humanity permeated all photos,” the press release continues. “It is our hope that viewers will be impressed and touched by the photos’ excellence and message, the students’ creativity and skills, and the positive spirit and potential they represent.”
Dar al-Kalima University is funded primarily by Lutheran and other communities of faith outside of the Holy Land and offers education for Palestinian Christian and Muslim youth alike.
St. John’s Lutheran Church encourages support for this university and the other programs emanating from the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb’s vision that is represented in the United States through Bright Stars of Bethlehem.
The vision steadfastly builds hope through imaginative, proactive, positive programs to
achieve peace, justice and fullness of life for all people in the Holy Land,” the exhibit press release says.
For more information go to www.brightstarsbethlehem.org. Prints are available
for sale at the exhibit that support the artists and scholarships at Dar al-Kalima
University.
Support for this ministry can be given year-round by sending a tax-deductible contribution to Bright Stars of Bethlehem, P.O. Box 185, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0185.
The “Palestine: Unlimited” exhibition is co-sponsored by Trinity Oaks.

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