Newberry Observer

Bishop Munib Younan visits Newberry

NEWBERRY — Newberry College received a visit from Bishop Munib Younan, who is the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, this week. During his visit, Younan delivered an Ash Wednesday sermon.

His sermon involved the power of love, and during a speech on Thursday he talked about peace in the Middle East.

“Without love, there would be no coexistence,” said Younan.

Younan is an advocate of taking a peaceful approach toward social and religious turmoil. Younan hopes to get the younger generation involved in making social change in both the Middle East and the world.

“We must together build a future of peaceful coexistence in the Holy Land. I call on you to speak out for what you know is right. To know that peace and reconciliation are possible when ordinary people unite to make extraordinary change,” he said.

Younan will be visiting several colleges that are apart of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America during his trip to the United States, Newberry being the first visit.

“He brought up some new and refreshing points, he also gave me a new perspective on what Lent really means,” said Kirkland Burkett, a freshman who attended the Ash Wednesday service.

Younan was born to Palestinian refugees in 1950. Due to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, both of his parents were displaced and caught in the middle of the tension among the Palestinians. He embraced a life of non-violence and compassion.

He said it was difficult for him to stay optimistic during times of chaos in the Middle East.

“It is easy to only think negatively, but it is my job to be a peace maker,” Younan said.

Younan’s dream was to become a pastor, and after he finished his education at Lutheran School in Palestine he got this opportunity. He was offered a scholarship to attend Luther Opisto College in Finland. After he attended Luther Opisto, he would go on to earn his graduate degree in theology from Helsinki University. After earning his degree, Younan was ordained and after 23 years of being a pastor he was elected bishop.

Younan has been active in many faith organizations such as, the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC).

Bishop Munib Younan with Mayor Foster Senn during the Ash Wednesday service. Munib Younan with Mayor Foster Senn during the Ash Wednesday service. Courtesy of Mayor Foster Senn

Jayleen Gant for The Newberry Observer

Jayleen Gant is a student at Newberry College.