Dedication of Abrahams-Herberge in Beit Jala

After seven long years of prayer, work, construction, delays, curfews, closures and determination, Abraham’s House (Abrahams-Herberge in German) is a reality at last. On October 30, 2003, the building and its ministry were dedicated to the glory of God in the presence of hundreds of people. Located on the church compound of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala, Abraham’s House is a retreat and study center with a guest house where youth and adults of all three Abrahamic faiths can gather to build understanding and reconciliation.

Over two-hundred people from Germany came to celebrate the dedication, representing many churches and individuals that had contributed financially to build Abraham’s House, including the EKD, the NMZ and many other churches in Germany. The Lutheran Church of the Reformation was overflowing with Palestinian, Israeli, German and American people, many of whom sat outdoors or in the parish hall, listening to the service. Rev. Jadallah Shihadeh, pastor of the Reformation church, greeted the many visitors, including several Jewish rabbis and Muslim clerics. Music, God’s Word, messages, expressions of gratitude and great joy filled the people and the church. Bishop Maria Jepsen of the Northelbian Church in Germany joined ELCJ Bishop Dr. Munib Younan and Propst em. Helmut Glatte from Germany in bringing messages, and Rev. Herman Keller of Hamburg, Germany, brought the sermon.

The sanctuary of the Reformation church has also been completely remodeled as Abraham’s House was being built. At the front of the church a stained glass window now towers behind the altar area, showing Abraham welcoming the three angels, as described in Genesis 18. The hospitality of Abraham is the model for what the new Abraham’s House and its ministry is offering to Jews, Christians and Muslims as they gather to know and understand each other, leading to reconciliation. In Abraham’s House the natural stone and beautiful Palestinian tiles and painting combine to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The guesthouse can hold about fifty people, and the youth housing also on the church compound can hold about forty.

Rev. Jadalah Shihadeh is the pastor of the Abraham’s House and may be contacted about holding conferences or retreats in Abraham’s House or about staying in the guesthouse. E-mail:shihadeh@luthchurch.com; Telephone: +972 – 2 – 274.2613; Fax: 2744.966

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