Although the diaconal ministries of the church were the first to take root in the area in 1851, the congregational ministries of the ELCJHL are the center of this small but vibrant church’s life. Each of the six ELCJHL congregations began at the request of the local Arab-Christian population.
In some cases, it was graduates of the Lutheran Schools that came together in requesting a congregational home. In the cases of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope in Ramallah, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Amman, the church responded to the needs of Palestinian refugees.
The congregations Worship together each Sunday, with various other Bible study, social, and cultural events throughout the week. Special youth and women programs are developed in different parishes.
The pastors of the ELCJHL are committed to their congregations, providing a tremendous pastoral work. All of the congregational pastors of the ELCJHL grew up in the church. Many have graduated from ELCJHL schools and been involved with congregational and educational programs since birth. These future pastors then went on to study theology internationally, but all were eager to return home to Jordan and the Holy Land.
The congregations of the ELCJHL are integrally interwoven in the educational ministries of the ELCJHL. Each of the congregations of the ELCJHL are also involved greatly in their local communities, the following offer a few examples:
- In Beit Sahour, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, working out of a very broad ecumenical policy, strives to “build awareness of the role of Christians in the Palestinian society and the importance of non-violence as a means for change.”
- In Ramallah, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope is very involved and active in Women’s ministries and the ELCJHL Women’s Desk in “striving to be a good example in the Palestinian society, promoting gender awareness in all its work, ministries, and institutions.”
- In Jerusalem, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is responding to needs of the elderly population through the Martin Luther Community Development Center. Christian and Muslim elders alike are welcomed and invited.
- In Bethlehem, the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church continues to grow in service to the community as Dar al-Kalima College joined Dar al-Kalima Evangelical Lutheran School and Dar al-Kalima Wellness Center this fall.
- In Beit Jala, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation, offers a place of rest to pilgrims at its Abraham’s Herberge guesthouse, with a vision that is open to all.
- In Amman, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd invites the community in, as it opens its al-Khoimeh Community Center to local groups and events.
Life in for Christians Behind the Wall
While millions of tourists come and go from the Holy Land each year, life for Christians both in Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is not what it may seem if you are visiting for only a few days or do not take the time to hear the stories of those you meet.
We invite you make the time listen, learn, and grow in your understanding of the complex life in Palestine under Israeli occupation in order that you might return to your home country and share what you have learned. The Holy Land cannot heal nor again prosper as long as the world outside believes only what is displayed on TV.