Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Good News from the Holy Land

The following good bits of news from the Holy Land came to me from the Diocese of Jerusalem's monthly newsletter:


Some of us know him --  all of us should.  Fr. Fuad Dagher leads a parish in Shefa Amr, a mid-sized city on an ancient trade route between Haifa and Nazareth.  It's now home to Muslims, Christians and Druze in verdant northern Israel farmland.  It's also home to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, a small but growing congregation working hard to stabilize the dwindling Christian community.
Fr. Fuad preaches, plays the organ and guitar and exudes energy which draws parishioners, visitors and townspeople to his ministry of inclusion.   Fr. Fuad saw a need to provide a gathering place for the entire community, from all faith traditions, for concerts, summer camp, festivals and family celebrations.  And this place could be right at St. Paul's.  After meeting with other faith leaders in the Shefa Amr, contributions of labor, materials and funds came forward.  An abandoned adjacent property was purchased, volunteers and paid workers joined to rebuild the old structure and construct a large plaza in front for outdoor performances, activities and celebrations.  See the results at the top of the page.
Funding came from friends near and far.  Donors from the US who had visited the parish were particularly generous, notably the Diocese of Los Angeles, Sue and Sandy Smock and a parish in Lexington, Kentucky honoring its outgoing rector.  It literally took a worldwide village to create this center of creativity, positive energy and hope. 
While some work remains to be done, the dedication is to be held later this month.  Celebrate with Fr. Fuad, the parishioners of St. Paul's and the entire town of Shefa Amr with a prayer, a financial gift or a visit to this place of faith.  Help make this parish a magnet for Christian community and support as they do God's work in a volatile place.  Pilgrims welcome!
succulent w yellow flower  
  The Galilee, spring 2011

  The 14 schools owned and operated by the Diocese of Jerusalem include 9 high schools.  These academically superior institutions together graduated almost 500 students last week.  Your gifts of scholarship funds, supplies and teacher support made this possible.

These young men and women are headed to universities, jobs, a future of possibility because of the foundation provided by St. Saviour's School in Zarka, Jordan the Theodor Schneller School in Marka, Jordan, The Bishop School and The Ahliyyah School in Amman, St. George's School and Princess Basma School in Jerusalem, Christ School in Nazareth and Arab Evangelical Episcopal School and the Technical and Vocational Training Center in Ramallah.  This is in addition to the 5
pre-school graduation Zarka 11
Pre-school graduation at St. Saviour's Zarka Jordan
other schools which serve children and families in kindergarten through 8th grade. 
Respect for differences, tolerance and civic responsibility are embedded into the curriculum of each Diocesan institution, preparing our students for future roles as positive leaders, working toward reconciliation and peace.   This is the real gift you've given to the region and to those of all religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds.  Thank you again.


1 comment:

Matthew M said...

How long before the radical Muslims go after him and all the schools because they are'Crusaders' and must be exterminated be cause they educate girls with boys.
Good news always has a downside.

Sad but true.