Though the ELCJHL has always had services which fall under the umbrella of Diaconal Ministry, some new partnership and the hiring of our new Diaconal Ministry Coordinator, Ms. Rana Zeidan, M.S.W., has allowed us a much-needed opportunity to restructure and centralize this part of our ministry to update our services and offer better financial, food aid, and spiritual assistance to those in need.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been detrimental to the Palestinian economy, the destruction of which has seeped into every aspect of Palestinian life. Though poverty was a prevailing issue before the pandemic, lack of tourists pouring international money into Bethlehem has left many families unable to put food on the table, pay electric bills, and manage school fees for their children.
This month marked the first full month of the Diaconal Ministry project, and Rana has been hard at work making home visits, distributing food vouchers, and setting up systems to ensure this ministry is sustainable and ready to grow.
Pre-existing ELCJHL programs that will be folded into this new project include our Deaf Ministry, which Rana has taken charge of since fall of 2021, our Meals on Wheels project based in Ramallah, and the Martin Luther Center for Development located in the Old City right next to the Church of the Redeemer.
Additional aspects of this project will include distribution of food vouchers redeemable at local grocery stores for eligible families in need, financial support in paying home bills for eligible families, spiritual council from Rana or one of our pastors, financial help with school fees for eligible families, and training courses in community-requested areas such as job preparedness, child management, and business.
This project is made possible by our amazing partners, FELM, Kirch in Actie, and the ELCA. We are so grateful for their partnership and for believing in us and our mission.
Stay tuned for updates about the Diaconal Ministry of the ELCJHL.
A home visit with some clients of the Diaconal Ministry.photo courtesy of Rana Zeidan
Meeting with school administration to work out homework help and school fee financial assistance.photo courtesy of Rana Zeidan.