Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)
With the hope of promoting peace in the Middle East, Global Ministries is partnering with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), which is part of the global Lutheran family, and comprises six congregations in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jordan. The ELCJHL traces its origin to the middle of the 19th century when German and English Evangelical Christians came to Palestine to support the Christian minority in the area through diaconal and mission work. Their activities were many and were channeled through a variety of organizations and institutions. It advocates for a just peace and a two-state solution. It also works to ensure education for Palestinian children, both Christian and Muslim, and has made education is a high priority. To that end, the church operates schools, support for which can advance the church’s societal role. The ELCJHL also is actively engaged in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. An end of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is essential to real possibilities for economic growth for both.
The original aim of these Protestant mission efforts in the Holy Land was not to create a new church in the area, but to serve the poor and provide a proper education for Christians. Only later the former pupils of the Lutheran Schools helped to establish the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Many of these members became refugees at the time the State of Israel was created.
The ELCJHL has been a member of the Lutheran World Federation since 1974 and maintains a “companionship” or partner relation with many other churches worldwide. It’s a member of the Middle East Council of Churches and is active in ecumenical affairs and inter-religious dialogue.
The majority of the congregations within ELCJHL are comprised largely of families of refugees who fled their home at the time of the wars that followed the formation of Israel. Today the ELCJHL continues this call to witness through education and health care for Palestinians regardless of faith and provides for the spiritual needs of the Arab Lutheran community.
The church operates schools in Ramallah, Beit Jala, Bethlehem, and Beit Sahour. There is a kindergarten in Jerusalem and two boarding homes in Beit Jala. More than 3000 pupils, boys and girls, are served.
As Palestinians continue to struggle for autonomy and nationhood, they are confronted with the need for improved education, better access to health care, improved employment opportunities, stronger leadership, and a greater
recognition within the international community. The ELCJHL remains a Christian presence in these demanding times, providing leadership in ecumenical efforts and offering both spiritual and social services to meet the daily needs of the people.
- A gift of $1200 could help support the programs of ecumenical and interfaith dialogue.
- A gift of $500 could support one child at a boarding home for a year.
- A gift of $50 could provide supplies for the kindergarten in Jerusalem.