The Church at Beit Sahour
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beit Sahour welcomes you to attend its services. The congregation is energetic, engaging, and welcoming to all who attend. The town of Beit Sahour, located just outside of Bethlehem, is home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. Some say the meaning of Beit Sahour comes from the Aramaic, meaning house of the ones who watch during the night, named for the nearby shepherd’s fields where the angels appeared with tidings of great joy. Others say the meaning comes from the Arabic, meaning house of the magicians, for the wise men who came through the area in search of the Newborn King. Regardless of which is true, the local people know they have a place in the biblical story!
Located on the grounds of the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour, the small but beautiful chapel features warm wood and local artwork. During the week, the chapel is used by the students of the Evangelical Lutheran School and echoes with their laughter and learning. The church and the school, located on a main road through Beit Sahour, hold a central place in town, as many of the local community members graduated from the school.
Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 9am! The worship service is in Arabic but revolves around patterns of the Lutheran liturgy that will be familiar to all Lutherans. After the worship service, you are invited to stay for coffee, tea, and treats in the parish hall.
Because of its location on the grounds of a Lutheran school, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beit Sahour is dedicated to ministry to local youth. One of the key ministries of the congregation is the Lutheran Scouts, which reaches out to area youth to include them in the church community. The program began in 1995, and offers activities such as camping, vocational workshops, and band performances. They participate with the ecumenical youth network in all community events, and they can be seen performing at many local parades!
Ecumenical and interfaith relationships are also deeply important to the members and the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Beit Sahour. The leaders of the churches in Beit Sahour, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Beit Sahour, formed an ecumenical network which works together to support the Christian community. In addition to their ecumenical work, these Christian leaders also reach out to the whole community regardless of religion, race or creed. They frequently meet with local Muslim leaders to support one another and to promote common values of human rights, dignity, justice, and peace.
The church has always focused on service to the community, helping to support their neighbors wherever they can. Today, the church is focusing on building up the Christian community’s spiritual life, through weekly prayer, music, Bible study, and fellowship. Other ministries include the choir, folk-dancers, the Women’s Group and a ministry to married couples.
The congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beit Sahour grew out of the original mission school around 1900, during the Ottoman Empire. Christians suffered under the rule of the Ottomans, and their numbers were dwindling. The aim of the Beit Sahour mission was to teach the Christian faith through the lens of Lutheran theology. The down-to-earth style of Lutheran worship and belief complemented the more elaborate orthodox religious practices that are more common in the area. Bible studies and devotions grew until the time came to build a new church building, in 1956.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Beit Sahour
Beit Sahour, Palestine (via Israel)