Presentation on theme: "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land."— Presentation transcript:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
Although Palestinian Christians have been in Jerusalem since the first Pentecost, the roots of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land – the ELCJHL - began in the mid 19th century when German and English missionaries came to teach and minister to the local people.
The six congregations of the ELCJHL and their ministries are located in Amman, Jordan, Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Bethlehem area. We are largely people who became refugees after the tragic wars that followed the formation of Israel. We also operate 4 schools and 4 additional educational programs in Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Bethlehem area. This map shows you the location of our ministries in Palestine in reference to the cities and the new Separation Wall (the red line).
“God calls the ELCJHL to proclaim the Gospel within an Arab context in the Holy Lands.” From the ELCJHL Mission Statement:
“The ELCJHL is called to serve the marginalized, the elderly, those who suffer or are traumatized, and all who are in need - regardless of race, gender or political affiliation. The ELCJHL empowers youth, women, men, and children, encouraging all our baptized members to be the people of God in service and witness.”
“We seek to be brokers of justice… ministers of reconciliation… and apostles of love.”
ELCJHL Bishop Munib Younan is a leader among the heads of local churches in Jerusalem. He and other Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Palestinian Christians work to promote peace and justice through their churches, schools and community groups.
Bishop Younan and the ELCJHL also work with Muslim and Jewish leaders to fight extremism that threatens our world and to promote common values of equal human rights, justice and reconciliation.
The 4 schools and 4 additional educational programs seek to promote excellent, holistic education while shaping the Palestinian Christian identity of our future leaders. ELCJHL goals include teaching democratic principles, religious tolerance, equal rights for women and peace-building.
Life and Faith in Jerusalem Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
Redeemer Church, in Jerusalem’s Old City, is home to the Arabic speaking congregation led by Pastor Sani Ibrahim Azar, as well as international congregations using German, English, and Danish.
“The Separation Wall (in red) is close to being sealed and completed. At least 25% of our congregation is outside the Wall, and it will be impossible for them to come to church unless they find a way to come and live in Jerusalem. For most, however, rents have risen too dramatically for them to afford this. Many families are forced to live in tiny houses in very overcrowded conditions.” Pastor Azar
The Abu Leil Family Samir, Mira and their three children live a house just outside the Wall. The Wall isn’t even closed yet, but the last time they tried to go to church, it took them 2 hours (they live 5 km away from the church, but have to go around the Wall and through a main checkpoint.) It is simply too hard now, and will eventually become impossible. For now, Feraz is able to attend confirmation only because Pastor Azar is able to pick him up on the other side of a checkpoint that will probably soon be closed.
The Kawas Family " I don't want a big house. I just want one bedroom for my children and one bedroom for Saleh and me. God willing when the babies are big we will have a bigger house.“ Sahar The Kawas family – Saleh, Sahar and their 5 children – live in a house in the Old City with one bedroom, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a courtyard covered with tin which doubles as another room – as long as it's not raining. The seven sleep together, eat together, study together and play together – mostly all in one room. They dream of a house with more space., but can’t afford it because rents have risen so dramatically.
ELCJHL Ministries in Jerusalem
The Martin Luther Elderly Center, a ministry of Redeemer Lutheran Church, serves over 250 of the 1500 elderly people known to live in the Old City of Jerusalem. Programs in health, education, fellowship and empowerment increase the well-being and health of the Old City’s elderly. The Martin Luther Elderly Center
Health Programs at the Elderly Center The center provides a physical therapist who comes to the center to offer individual physical therapy, swimming exercise at a local pool and group stretching and fitness classes for both men and women.
Fellowship Outings Gardening EducationSocial Gatherings Other Programs Other Activities at the Elderly Center
There are more and more elderly people living alone, some with no families to care for them no where for them to go. Many are too ill or disabled to go out and navigate the uneven, stone pathways and steps of the Old City. Nurses offer home visits for basic health monitoring, support with medications and nutrition. Elderly living Alone
Khalil Khalil, a Palestinian Christian, is one of the elderly men that used to come to the center but now is too sick to come. He has no family left here and no one to care for him. Workers from the center visit him and countless others every week, sometimes daily.
The Hadawar Family The Hadawar family – Grandparents Michael and Hannah, son Hana and wife Jumana and baby Michael all live together in a tiny house in the Old City with one bedroom, a bathroom, a small kitchen sitting room. My dream is to get the permit to live with my family and to have a home of my own" Jumana
Above left, Jumana stands in her half of the bedroom with Michael. Above right, a photo taken from elder Michael and Hannah’s half of the bedroom. Long time members of the Arab-speaking Redeemer congregation, they would be good candidates for the housing project.
One of the four additional educational programs, the Al-Mahaba Kindergarten serves an average of 30 students a year, preparing them for elementary school. Christian and Muslim students alike look forward to playing Mary or Joseph in the Christmas play. The Al Mahaba Kindergarten
The MLCDC is devoted to meeting the needs of the Old City’s community. This year, a series of Teachers’ Forums are being offered to improve the skills of the private school teachers in East Jerusalem. Classes Martin Luther Community Development Center Children’s Activities
Fitness Center Supervised Day Care Center
I am very much afraid for the future of Palestinian Christianity, especially in Jerusalem. If we don’t act now there will be no more local Palestinians in the Holy Land in 10 to 20 years.” Bishop Younan
“Here in our Lutheran school, from the wounds of Palestine, a new generation has risen, to work, to live, to love, and to be loved…. But let us not give up hope. Justice will prevail, and freedom will come. All we have to do is to stand together, to keep the candle of hope burning, and to work and struggle for our freedom.” Salaam Bannoura, Graduate At the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour, 2005
We need you. Our mission is your mission. Help us invest in our future and our young people so that Palestinian Christians will remain a living witness of love, hope and forgiveness so needed in this land.
Stay with us on this road, that we might continue to proclaim from this Land of the Resurrection: Christ is Risen! Al Masih Qam He is Risen Indeed! He Haqan Qam! Bishop Dr. Munib Younan, Easter, 2004
Thanks to Rev. Mark Brown and Sister Sylvia Countess who provided some of the pictures and slides for this presentation.