The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL,) and Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy were named co-winners of the 2015 Olof Palme Prize this January for their “courageous and indefatigable fight against occupation and violence.”

Bishop Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) sent a letter of congratulations to Pastor Raheb on January 14, 2016. In her letter to Raheb, Bishop Eaton writes:  “At a time when Jerusalem and the West Bank are experiencing a sustained period of heightened tensions, and when Bethlehem and Beit Jala are sites of random attacks and violence, you and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) have been singled out for your constant call for hope against fear and for peace with justice for all who live in the land we call Holy.”

Bishop Eaton concludes, “This award gives honor to you for your scholarship and activism and to the ELCJHL for its deep commitment to advocating for an independent Palestine and secure Israel co-existing with peace and equality for all. We in the ELCA are honored to be a close companion to the ELCJHL, working and praying with you for peace in your homeland in our time.”

Pastor Raheb and Levy will receive the award in Sweden on January 29.

Click here to see the full letter of congratulations from the ELCA.