COCOP Resources

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2020 “Virtual” COCOP Resources

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:14

Below, find the Agenda for the COCOP 2020 meetings, held at Abrahams Herberge in Beit Jala for local partners and via Zoom for international partners.

COCOP 2020 Agenda

Each of the following reports is downloadable and able to be viewed on an electronic reader or printed. To download the report to your personal device, click on the arrow pointing “down” in the upper right hand corner of the document.

COCOP 2020 Full Reports is optimized for online reading and includes the Bishop’s Report, the Congregational Reports, and the Additional Reports in a single document. It features internal hyperlinks which allow you to easily navigate between the sections of the report. Simply click on the name of the report you would wish to view in the Table of Contents on the second page. When you have finished reading that section, you can click [ Return to Table of Contents ] to select a new section.

COCOP 2020 Full Reports

The Bishop’s Report, Congregational Reports, and Additional Reports are optimized for printing, but can also be viewed on an electronic reader.

2020 Bishop’s Report

2020 Congregational Reports

2020 Additional Reports

2020 Educational Ministries Report

Bishop Azar Addresses ELCJHL Partners

Bishop Ibrahim Azar speaks to the ELCJHL partners on Saturday, January 13, his first full day as bishop of the church. Pictured, (left) Bishop Elizabeth Eaton of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Bishop Susan Johnson of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.  Photo by Ben Gray / ELCJHL

Jerusalem, 13 January 2018 – The day after the consecration of The Rev. Sani Ibrahim Azar as the fourth Palestinian Bishop of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), Bishop Azar addressed the international partner churches in attendance for the installation. The international partners of the ELCJHL include organizations, churches and councils that have entered into mutual companionship and accompaniment for the betterment of both.

Representatives from all of the 29 ecumenical partners, member organizations and companion churches attended the first address to them from the newly consecrated, Bishop Azar.

Bishop Azar casually stood in front of the group gathered in the refectory hall of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City without a podium and without notes and greeted the longtime friends and supporters of the Palestinian Lutheran church.

In a gentle and measured manner,  Bishop Azar thanked partners for decades of missional work in the region. Peppered with humor, Bishop Azar told the partners that he would implement a new strategic plan for the next five years that would include: Spiritual care for the people of the church, financial sustainability projects, Diakonia to the community, and efforts to continue gender justice.

“Our pastors and laypeople will go where the people are, we will not sit by idly in our churches waiting for the people to come to us,” Bishop Azar said.

During the question and answer session of the address, Bishop Susan Johnson of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the President of The Coordination Committee for Cooperation between the ELCJHL and Overseas Partners (COCOP) asked Bishop Azar which of his many names (Sani Ibrahim “Barhoum” Charlie Azar) should the partners to use.

“In writing, Bishop Ibrahim Azar and in speaking, Bishop Barhoum,” Bishop Azar humbly replied with a smile.

Photo Gallery of the Address

Mahaba Nursery Changes Leadership

Photo by Adrainne Gray/ELCJHL

 Mount of Olives, Jerusalem – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land’s Mahaba Nursery and Preschool (MNAP) celebrated 20 years of dedication and service from its director, Mrs. Margaret “Margo” Younan while welcoming in Mrs. Maram Saeed Kawane as its new director.

The nursery has served local and expatriate families for nearly 40 years. Originally, developed by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission – The Middle East (FELM) in 1978. In 1997, the facility and the functioning of the nursery were taken over by the Evangelical Lutheran Schools (ELS).  Mahaba provides daycare and enrichment programs for children from just under two years old to four years of age. MNAP has an afterschool program for children up to 10 years old. See MNAP program page, here.

Mrs. Younan thanked her longtime nursery school staff of teachers and her family for her success at the nursery.

Mrs. Saeed Kawaneh thanked Mrs. Younan for her legacy and shared her vision of building on the framework of which Mrs. Younan has developed. Mrs. Saeed Kawaneh mentioned the creation of a Facebook page for the school, a plan to launch a fundraiser for renovations of the 20-year-old facility, and her desire to offer scholarships for Palestinian children.

When asked what her mission for the program will be under her direction, she said,

“I would like to see Al-Mahaba not only offer education, but I want children to grow emotionally healthy. I want to know their interests, their hobbies, and their habits.”

Photo Gallery  of Al-Mahaba Nursery

Celebrating 30 Years of Ministry

ELCJHL Bishop Munib Younan pulls away the veil of the monument placed on site at Christmas Lutheran Church commemorating The Rev. Mitri Raheb’s 30 years at the Bethlehem church as pastor. Ben Gray/ELCJHL

Bethlehem – The Church, community, family, and friends came together today, June 9, 2017, to celebrate 30 years of faithful service to The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church by The Rev. Mitri Raheb. – The Church, community, family, and friends came together today, June 9, 2017, to celebrate 30 years of faithful service to The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church by The Rev. Mitri Raheb.

Sunday, June 4th was the last worship service presided by Rev. Raheb at Christmas Lutheran. Rev. Raheb will remain an ELCJHL ordained minister with a concentrated focus on the Diyar Consortium. Diyar is a collaboration of college, and wellness, arts and cultural centers in Bethlehem for community enrichment.

The small Bethlehem church was packed with beloved friends, parishioners, ELCJHL clergy, representatives from the Palestinian Authority; including the Mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Tony Salman. The ecumenical public support for Rev. Raheb’s shift from the pastor of a parish to the full-time minister and manager of Diyar was also present. In attendance was the Greek Orthodox Bishop Attalah Hanna, Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabah, the Palestinian Ambassador to the Vatican Mr. Issa Kassissieh, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Christian Relations Mr. Ziad Bandak.

The Finland Ambassador to Palestine, Ms. Anu Saarela and German Representative to Palestine, Mr. Peter Beerwerth came to honor Rev. Raheb’s work in the church and in the global arena. The Coordination Committee for Cooperation between the ELCJHL and Overseas Partners (COCOP), representing nine international Lutheran churches and organizations, also honored the international relationship Rev. Raheb has cultivated.

Rev. Raheb was honored in sermons and speeches for his daily dedication to the church and the empowerment of his people in the face of persecution while living under 50 years of occupation. It was said that his gentle spirit, tenacity toward change, justice, equality and business sense are his marks of excellence. It was said that Rev. Raheb always uplifts others to take pride in being born in the very place where Jesus was born, and to not give up hope in the power of the cross, which he discusses in his latest publication co-authored with Dr. Suzanne Watts Henderson, The Cross in Contexts: Suffering and Redemption in Palestine.

Patriarch Emeritus Sabah, jokingly referred to Rev. Raheb as Obama Obama, making reference to Rev. Raheb’s German Media Award in 2011 given to leaders who demonstrate exceptional excellence, vision, and leadership. In May, the same award was presented to Former U.S. President Barack Obama in Berlin.

There was praise as Rev. Raheb was referred to as a gardener of the people and of the community. He is known for community redevelopment or planting new olive trees where war and poverty had demolished others. His peers were referring to his work at Diyar Consortium as a large part of that redevelopment in Bethlehem. Diyar was created in 1995 out of the destruction from the second Intifada that ravished Bethlehem economically and socially. The center offers a place to create art, learn skills, and reclaim heritage through its many community outreach programs.

This is where Rev. Raheb will consolidate his ministerial and managerial work. It was said that his ministry broadens beyond parish ministry.

He was lauded as a Palestinian Liberation Theologian who speaks unwaveringly with boldness, courage, and gentleness about the plight of the Palestinian people.

The Rev. Munther Isaac succeeds Rev. Raheb as the pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church – Bethlehem.

Arabic Language Press Release:  Arabic Language Press Release

Live Stream:

Rev. Mitri’s Farewell Address:

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Farewell Address of the Rev”]

Bishop Younan’s Sermon:

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Bishop Sermon Mitri 9 June 2017″]




The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland-Kuopio Visit, Renew Partnership with ELCJHL

Bishop Munib Younan and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland Kuopio Diocese, Bishop Jari Jolkkonen embrace. Kuopio delegates and Bishop Jolkkonen arrived for afternoon tea with Bishop Younan at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, 19 February 2017 – Delegates from The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland Diocese of Kuopio visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) this week to plan renewing partnership between the two establishments.

Using Galatians 6:10 as a guide, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers,” the Kuopio Diocese, and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission(FELM), and the ELCJHL will enter into renewed partnership with dignity, respect, reciprocity, equality, and solidarity.

The Lutheran Church of Finland and the ELCJHL are member churches of the Lutheran World Federation.

Since 2009, the Kuopio Diocese has been in partnership with the ELCJHL churches and three Evangelical Lutheran Schools of the ELCJHL: Hope Ramallah, Beit Sahour, and Dar al Kalima schools.

The most critical parts of the relationship according to the Bishop of the Kuopio Diocese, Jari Jolkkonen are as follows:

  1. An increased interaction and communication for increased mutual understanding and sharing of experiences.
  2. Intensification of theological exchange by means of joint seminars, missiological training, and visits with a special focus on pilgrimage encountering the local Christian context.
  3. The development and organization of new means of mutual cooperation in, for example, staff and trainee exchange, with a particular emphasis on church music.
  4. Invigoration of interest in mission work by means of various projects. To support the work of the ELCJHL with a special focus on ecclesiastical matters.

The Kuopio delegation was comprised of six deans from Kuopio parishes, others from the Diocese and the Bishop of the Kuopio Diocese.

The delegation visited schools, met with Bishop Younan, participated in the Joint-Common Prayer service between Catholics and Lutherans, and worshiped at The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope in Ramallah among other activities.

During Bishop Jolkkonen’s sermon at Hope Ramallah on Sunday before the delegation’s departure, he preached,

“This partnership with ELCJHL has changed us. Every time I see in the news of violence in the Holy Land it breaks my heart. It makes me feel pain. I don’t just speak for myself but on behalf of the entire delegation. Therefore, we pray every Sunday for you and will do everything to stand with you in solidarity.”


PHOTOS: Deaf Ministry Holds A Bible Study Retreat

ELCJHL Renews Mutual Agreement With Kuopio, Finland and FELM

Bishop Jari Jolkkonen of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and Bishop Munib Younan of the ELCJHL shake hands.

Bishop Jari Jolkkonen of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and Bishop Munib Younan of the ELCJHL shake hands.
Bishop Jari Jolkkonen of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and Bishop Munib Younan of the ELCJHL shake hands. (© Danae Hudson/ELCJHL)

JERUSALEM – The companion agreement between The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Diocese of Kuopio, and the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) was signed in St. John’s Chapel at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014. Bishop Munib Younan, representing the ELCJHL, Bishop Jari Jolkkonen, representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Diocese of Kuopio, and Rev. Dr. Seppo Rissanen, representing FELM signed the documents to continue their mutual agreement of accompaniment.  The ELCJHL is happy to continue its work with both the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Kuopio Diocese and FELM.

ELCJHL Meets with International Partners (COCOP)

The Coordinating Council for the Cooperation of Overseas Partners of the ELCJHL (COCOP) celebrated its 30th year of partnership at the recent annual meeting in May at Dar Annadwa conference center in Bethlehem. On the study day before the council meeting, Rev. Hannes Ganssbauer from Germany, who was instrumental in the early years of the partnership, gave the history of the partnership, and Mrs. Aida Haddad, wife of the late Bishop Emeritus Daoud Haddad, gave reflections from the Bishop’s writings. As usual, the group heard updates from the churches, schools and ministries and strategized about future plans. The week concluded with a memorial service for Bishop Haddad at Augusta Victoria’s Festival Hall.