Church of the Good Shepherd- Amman
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
The Church of the Good Shepherd is located in the Um al-Summaq neighborhood of West Amman. With a sanctuary, parsonage, parish hall, and community center, there is plenty of room to host worship, Christian education classes, and social activities.
Join us for worship on Sunday evenings! In the winter months, we gather at 6:30pm, and in the summer months we gather at 7:00pm.
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Amman is a “refugee congregation.” It was established within the last forty years (unlike other congregations which have much longer histories in Palestine). Lutheran refugees from Geographical Palestine, separated from their homeland due to war and political upheaval in 1948 and 1967, wanted to maintain their Lutheran traditions and heritage in their new homes in which they sought refuge.
It is clear to the congregation that youth work must be a particular focus of the Lutheran ministry in Amman. 60% of the Jordanian population is under 30 years of age, with a huge percentage of this group being between the ages of 15 and 25 years. It is incumbent upon all the churches in Jordan to work among the youth. With this in mind, the Lutheran church is always looking for ways to attract young people to worship, classes, and special activities.
Today, the Lutheran Good Shepherd Church counts about two-hundred people in a mix of members and regularly attending friends and acquaintances of the congregation with different church backgrounds. A special, close relationship has been built between the Lutheran and Anglican congregations in Amman as well. Reverend Imad Haddad serves as pastor to this congregation.
The history of the Lutheran Good Shepherd Church goes back to the 1970s, when several displaced Palestinian Lutheran families living in Amman asked the Lutheran Synod and Church Council in Jerusalem to establish a congregation. The Rev. Numan Smir was delegated by the ELCJHL Church Council in 1976 to begin Lutheran ministries in Amman. A house was rented in West Amman for worship, education, and social gatherings. The purpose of the Lutheran ministry in Amman was to provide worship opportunities and give pastoral care for ELCJHL members who were obliged to leave Palestine and find work in Jordan. Conversations were held between the Anglican and Lutheran church leaderships in Palestine and Jordan, as well as with the ELCJHL’s many Lutheran church partners overseas, with regard to the development of the Amman mission.
By 1979 Pastor Smir had moved to Amman to work full time as pastor of the growing congregation. Through hard and persistent work, Pastor Smir gathered many Lutheran families scattered all over Amman, including those who had attended or graduated from the Talitha Kumi and Schneller Lutheran Schools in Jerusalem. (These schools were relocated due to the wars. Talitha Kumi is now in Beit Jala; the Schneller School is in Amman.) Worship services and Sunday School classes, women’s meetings and youth activities were all held in this rented house. The new Lutheran congregation grew and developed and in 1985 a parcel of land was purchased in Um al-Summaq in West Amman. With the financial help of churches in Sweden and Finland, a new church, parsonage, parish hall and community center were built. The new structures were dedicated on August 23, 1987. German churches through VELKD also helped finance the buildings and three church bells were donated from East Germany.
Christianity in Jordan
These historic churches are recognized by the Jordanian government: The Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox, the Catholics, and the Evangelicals (Lutherans and Anglicans). This means these Christian communities have the right to establish “waqf” (trusts), own property, open schools, hospitals and other institutes of learning and social services, and form their own ecclesiastical courts. In a Royal Decree in 2001, it was announced that Christmas and New Year are regarded as National Holidays (in addition to other Muslim and secular holidays). The Christian community was thrilled by this decision, as it allows us to fully celebrate Christmas as a holy day, instead of it being a regular work day in the predominantly country.
The Jordanian government has also established a number of societies and institutes to enhance good will and peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians in Jordan, including the Interfaith Coexistence Research Center. The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies promotes understanding about common values between Christianity and Islam and encourages dialogue at all levels.
Pastor Imad Haddad