Winter Peace Retreat at Spruce Lake
Learning from the Least:
Reflections on a Peace Journey
with Palestinian Christians

February 12-14, 2016 (Friday-Sunday)

Videos and Saturday Afternoon Conversation

Saturday Afternoon Optional Adult Program

Videos Showings and Directed Discussion
The following videos and discussion options will be scheduled during Saturday afternoon "free time" at the retreat. Please Note: Due to the sensitive nature of these documentaries, parental discretion is strongly advised. There are instances of violence, graphic talk and frank discussions that may not be appropriate for certain age groups. Please keep young children away during the viewing of these films. Thank you.

  • Constantine's Sword (95 min. 2007)
    Constantine's Sword is the story of James P Carroll's journey to uncover the roots of war. Carroll, a former Catholic priest whose father was a famous Air Force general, implies that there has been a relationship between religiously inspired violence and war, beginning with the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 312 AD. Constantine was convinced that he had won a battle because he had followed the instructions of a vision, to inscribe a sign of the cross (the Labarum) on the shields of his soldiers. In Carroll's view, this event marked the beginning of an unholy alliance between the military and the Church. Carroll focuses on Catholic and evangelical anti-Judaism, and invokes the cross as a symbol of the long history of Christian xenophobic violence against Jews and non-Christians, from the crusades, through the Roman Inquisition and the creation of the Jewish ghetto, to the Holocaust. Carroll also charges that there is an ongoing evangelical infiltration of the U.S military, and that this has had negative consequences for U.S foreign policy.
  • Children of the Nakba (26 min. 2004) For Palestinians, the events between 1947 & 1949 are remembered as a time when Israeli military forces destroyed over 500 Palestinian villages and expelled between 700,00 and 900,000 Palestinians from their lands-about 85 percent of the Palestinian population at that time. These refugees have lived exiled from their land since then. Today Palestinians represent one-third of the global refugees and internally displaced population. Learn about the Palestinians who call these events the "Nakba," an Arabic word meaning "catastrophe." Both Palestinian and Israelis are children of the Nakba, heirs to a story of dispossession. Building a shared future of justice, equality, and reconciliation for both peoples will mean grappling with this history. Produced in 2004, much of the information remains useful today. Watch "Children of the Nakba" on YouTube.
  • The Stones Cry Out- Voices of the Palestinian Christians (56 min. 2013) Christianity was born in Palestine two thousand years ago. From there it spread throughout the Middle East and to the rest of the world. Yet many are unaware Christians still live in the land. For more than 60 years the Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, have suffered displacement, expulsion, wars, occupation and oppression. The voices of Palestinian Christians have all too often been drowned out in the turmoil of events. This is their story, in their voices, from the Nakba (disaster) of 1948 until today.
  • Zionism Unsettled: A Congregational Study Guide (Episodes 6, 7, 8 only) (65 min. 2014)
    What role have Zionism and Christian Zionism played in shaping attitudes and driving historical developments in the Middle East and around the world? How do Christians, Jews and Muslims understand the competing claims to the land of Palestine and Israel? What steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation, and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share? Zionism Unsettled embraces these critical issues fearlessly and with inspiring scope. It draws together compelling and diverse viewpoints from Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Israel, Palestine, the US, and around the globe. By contrasting mainstream perceptions with important alternative perspectives frequently ignored in the media, Zionism Unsettled is an invaluable guide to deeper understanding. You can also watch all episodes of Zionism Unsettled on Vimeo.
  • Doctrine of Discovery (43 min. 2015)
    In the name of Christ.... For more than five centuries, the Doctrine of Discovery and the laws based upon it have legalized the theft of land, labor, and resources for Indigenous Peoples across the world and systematically denied their human rights. This Doctrine originated with the Christian church in the 15th century. It is now the church's responsibility to undo it. You can also watch Doctrine of Discovery online here, or download it from Vimeo.

  • Discussion: The Future of Conference Peace & Justice work and the Winter Peace Retreat
    Open conversation about plans to move the 2017 Winter Peace Retreat to St. Mary's of Providence retreat center.