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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    “Because We Care” Gary Bergh Scholarships fundraiser in honor of Leah Mae Carlisle

    July 18, 2022 / By Linda Bergh

    The Gary Bergh Scholarship Fundraiser is a tribute to Leah Mae Carlisle (10/14/38 - 6/21/22), Peace with Justice Taskforce Co-Chair, and the Palestinian Dinner (imagined) Fundraiser in her honor

    As though staying around to encourage her beloved UNY Taskforce on Peace w/ Justice in Palestine/Israel, Leah Mae died in the late evening following the June 21st morning Taskforce Zoom meeting which only her husband, Tom, was able to attend due to her advanced illness. Click here to read Leah Mae’s obituary.

    At previous meetings, Leah Mae had asked the Taskforce to keep up its good work and to continue plans for the Palestinian Dinner (imagined) Fundraiser for the Gary Bergh Scholarship Fund.  

    That scholarship fund was important to Leah Mae, as she knew the value of seeing first-hand the injustices Palestinians endure under Israel’s Occupation and control.  In 2006, she had witnessed the effect of home demolitions and displacement, destruction of an olive tree orchard by Israeli settlers, and an apartheid travel system with separate permits, license plates, and roads for Israelis and Palestinians, as a dozen of us from the NCNY Conference, with 50 United Methodists, traveled with our General Board of Global Missions in the Holy Land.  

    The Gary Bergh Scholarship provides monies to enable young adults/adults to travel on “justice-awareness” delegations to the Holy Land.  Seeing injustice arouses the need for action, and that call for action was part of Leah Mae's passion.  It is hoped that an additional $2,000.00 will be raised by this year’s Palestinian Dinner (imagined).  {A donation of $20.00 or less secures you an (imagined) seat at the table!}

      How Long, O Lord?    
         (Ps. 13:1a)

    As mentioned above, Leah Mae and her companions on the 2006 GBGM-sponsored Holy Land trip, learned of abuses of Palestinians caused by Israeli government policies.

    Recently, participants in the June ‘22 “Eyewitness Palestine” delegation have been sharing their accounts via e-mail.  The horror is that such abuse has not abated, despite expanding worldwide awareness, but has simply increased for Palestinians.

    For instance, one Eyewitness Palestine delegate shared in a 6/30/22 report that a man named “Abu Hamza, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah, told us [Israeli] settlers walk around with guns to intimidate Palestinians in the [East Jerusalem] neighborhood, often in the middle of the night, making noise so they can’t sleep.

    He also shared with us that one tactic that is commonly used against families who are facing displacement to break their spirit and force them to leave is to arrest their children and impose excessive fines on them.

    Yet another Eyewitness Palestine delegate shared in a 7/6/22 email some “disturbing
    details learned from ‘Defense for Children International-Palestine’, an organization representing children who are prosecuted by Israeli military courts in the occupied Palestinian territories.” …. “Palestinians can be prosecuted at age 12 . . .For throwing a rock at a stationary object like a building, they can get imprisoned for two years.  Throwing a rock at a moving target can get them imprisoned for 20 years. Needless to say, none of this happens to Israeli kids.  And settlers have been known to kill people without consequence.”

    This same delegate also shared:  “one of the [Palestinian] women said the other day, ‘we are born into hope because otherwise we would cease to exist.’”

    To contribute to the Palestinian Dinner (imagined) in honor of Leah Mae Carlisle, enabling GB Scholarships for more young adults/adults in our Conference area to participate in such “justice-awareness trips, write your check to “UNYAC” with “Gary Bergh Scholarship” on the memo line, and mail your tax-deductible donation to:

    Linda Bergh, 116 Edna Road, Syracuse, NY 13205 or Karen Peterson, 116 Greenridge Dr., Horseheads, NY 14845.  


    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."