BETHLEHEM, November 30, 2010 – On Tuesday, November 30th, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land celebrated the dedication of new facilities of Dar al-Kalima College.
The new facilities promote a “message of higher education and scientific research in Palestine” and includes film and television studios, a specialized technical library, an auditorium and theatre hall, as well as music performance rooms, classrooms, computer labs, a cafeteria and gathering space.
But, as Pastor Mitri Raheb, Pastor of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church, said, “we don’t inviest only in stone, but rather almost all of our focus is on human beings. Our mission was and will remain ‘To build a country, stone by stone; to empower a community, person by person; and to establish viable institutions that are here to last.’”
Dar al-Kalima College is the first and only Lutheran college in the Middle East, and is part of the Diyar Consortium, an outgrowth of the ministries of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bethlehem, one of the six congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL).
To read Pastor Raheb’s full speech, to view the dedication event, or for other news about the newly-dedicated Dar al-Kalima College, visit the Diyar Consortium webpage.
On Monday, September 1, 2003, the long-awaited dedication and grand opening of the Ad-Dar Cultural and Conference Center alongside the Lutheran Christmas Church (ELCJ) in Bethlehem was held. Many guests came from Finland (the government of Finland gave generous financial support in building the Conference Center), the United States and other countries to join the Palestinian Church and people in celebrating the event. The International Center of Bethlehem (ICB) is a Lutheran based, ecumenically-oriented institution serving the whole Palestinian community. Through empowering the local community, developing human resources, cultivating artistic talents and facilitating intercultural encounters, the ICB actively promotes the building of Palestinian civil society. Another way of building the society is the Dar al-Kalima Academy which is a small community college facility offering training in music, arts and crafts, media, communication, cultural management, tourism and Christian ministry
Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan, Ms. Paula Lehtomaki the Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, and Dr. Nabeel Kassis, Minister of Planning in the Palestinian Authority, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb along with Palestinian dignitaries, the ICB, church and academy staff celebrated the dedication and grand opening with many guests. Music was provided by the National Conservatory of Music at ICB. Bishop Younan said: “Music, arts and theology will help in building a modern civil society, teaching freedom of speech, opinion and expression. I pray that Ad-Dar would play an active role where the ELCJ is seen as empowering the powerless.”