In after-dinner remarks Tuesday evening (July 3) before the National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus, the Rev. Kenneth Bailey, noted scholar and emeritus research professor of New Testament at the Ecumenical Institute (Tantur) in Jerusalem decried what he sees as “the forgotten faithful.”

He reminded the 100 or so in attendance that the 15 million Arab Christians can no longer “be invisible.”

“They can be a bridge over troubled water,” said Bailey, noting their effectiveness as “translators” between the nuances of the Middle East and the West.

Arab Christians can also be a bridge toward damping-down anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. “We can disagree,” the 81-year old Bailey stressed, “without hate or fear.”

In the ongoing peace efforts, Bailey implored leaders, “Be sensitive to new doors of possibilities for peace and understanding.”

The National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus honored the Rev. Raafat Zaki with the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel Award, named in honor of the Palestinian-American born in Galilee, came to America in 1966, became a citizen in 1981 and was elected moderator of the General Assembly in 2002.