”Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”Romans 12:12
There is lots of good news to share this month, but unfortunately also some bad news…
The bad news is that there was again an attack on a church in the Holy Land. Last December the church in Getsemane suffered an attack, early February the Romanian Orthodox Church in Musrara was vandalized by Israeli radicals. Video footage shows the assailants attempting to gain entry by smashing a lock to the front gate of the church and destroying its CCTV cameras. His Beatitude, Theophilus III, Patriarch of Jerusalem described it as an event “that reflects the extent of the Israeli extremists’ hatred for the Christian religion in general, and the Orthodox Church in particular”. It is important that the Christian community comes together to present a unified voice in condemning such actions
More bad news is that the measures combatting Covid19 are affecting the Christian community in the Holy Land. The lack of income and social security leave many families in dire conditions.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), of which ICoHS holds the secretariat, invited church leaders in Jerusalem on February 25 to inform Parliamentarians in the UK on current issues in the Holy Land. We offered a platform to engage with one another and ask questions on how the local church is advocating for Christians during this time of pandemic.
The International Community of the Holy Sepulchre started to distribute the funds raised from the Bethlehem Star event among 7 schools, 2 institutions and 3 different projects from different local churches (Latin, Orthodox, Lutheran and Syriac) in the Bethlehem area to support with tuition fees, medical needs and food packages. Local volunteers helped with the distribution under the supervision of Father Ibrahim Faltas of the Custody of the Holy Land.
More good news is that Georgia Kamberi joined our ICoHS Team in London. Georgia will be assisting with communications and events. Eoin O’loghlen will continue to be involved with us through the Good Faith Partnership.
Last time we mentioned our plans for a meeting in London and Washington DC. The prolonged (travel) restrictions of the global pandemic forced us to re-evaluate our plans. ICoHS is now planning to organize high-level meetings in London and Washington DC in September – most probably it will be a hybrid event (small group of people meeting physically and making the event available virtually for a larger group). We hope to present an interesting report on Christianity in the Holy Land and will share soon more about this exciting opportunity.
This month we also started with our new live-stream series on “Feasts of the Holy Land”. If you missed the live-stream on February 16 – please watch the YouTube video below:
As we prepare for (Latin) Easter, we are creating a special “Holy Land Pilgrimage” which will be available daily on our website and on Premier TV during Holy Week as part of our series “Feasts of the Holy Land”. We invite you to share this virtual pilgrimage with your church community, family or friends.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. If you are not yet an ICoHS-founding member, please visit our website at www.icohs.org and sign up as founding member allowing us to continue to bring the Holy Land “closer to home” and encouraging the Christians in the region.
Anita Delhaas- van Dijk