Getting To Know Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb

BETHLEHEM/JERUSALEM, 2 May 2012 – If you’re on the ELCJHL News List, or peruse our website regularly, you have a feeling for who we are and what we do. But it can be hard to really get to know a people and a place without visiting in person.

So, over this spring and summer, we hope to give you the opportunity to get to know us better by offering for you a series of interviews with the pastors of the ELCJHL.

We begin today with the first of these interviews with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, and recent recipient of the prestigious Deutscher Medienpreis (German Media Prize).

We hope that this and upcoming interviews will help all of us to get to know one another better.

Read the interview with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb.

Learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

Explore Photos from the ministries of the ELCJHL in Bethlehem.

LWF Congratulates Palestinian Lutheran Pastor Raheb for German Media Prize

Promotion of tolerance and mutual respect starts at an early age at the ELCJHL-run Dar al-Kalima Evangelical Lutheran School in Bethlehem where the student body is 40 percent Christian and 60 percent Muslim. © ELCJHL/Elizabeth McHan

Junge Lauds Holy Land Church Support to Peace-building Institutions

GENEVA, 24 February 2012 (Lutheran World Information)The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has extended congratulations to Palestinian Lutheran pastor Rev. Dr Mitri Raheb on winning the 2011 “Deutscher Medienpreis” (German Media Prize). The award, which Raheb will receive later today, recognizes his individual and the church’s peace efforts, said LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge.

Raheb is pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). He is among four recipients of the prestigious prize to be awarded in Baden-Baden, Germany.

“The Deutscher Medienpreis is a recognition of not only your hard work and passion for justice, it is an affirmation of your approach, and that of the ELCJHL, to the complicated challenges of building institutions that change lives and of building relationships that strengthen prospects for a lasting peace,” wrote Junge in a congratulatory letter to Raheb.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the prize this year, it honors individuals who, in their work for peace, have quietly carried on without much media attention. The Deutscher Medienpreis jury said Raheb was being honored for building the Bethlehem congregation’s education, health care and dialogue programs.

Read more…


Click here to read the full article on the LWF website.


Click on the highlighted links to learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, and the Diyar Consortium –an outgrowth of the ELCJHL Bethlehem congregation.


Click here to view more photos from a day spent in the classrooms, hallways, and playgrounds of Dar al-Kalima Evangelical Lutheran School in Bethlehem, one of four k-12 ELCJHL Schools.

ELCJHL Pastor Mitri Raheb To Be Awarded Deutscher Medienpreis

BETHLEHEM/JERUSALEM, 17 January 2012 – The ELCJHL is proud to announce that Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem and President of the Synod is to be awarded to prestigious “Deutscher Medienpreis” (German Media Prize) at an official ceremony in the city of Baden-Baden in Germany on 24 February 2012.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the awarding of the Deutscher Medienpreis, which annually awards prizes to individuals who show exceptional performance, leadership qualities, and visionary work. Usually this prize is awarded to those individuals whose work has garnered much media attention, but to mark this anniversary the jury decided to honor individuals who, in their work for peace, have quietly continued on without much media attention.

In the official announcement from Deutcher Medienpreis, Pastor Raheb’s work in building up the outreach of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem in the areas of education, health care, and dialogue through the meeting places made available and welcoming.

The ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church and the Diyar Consortium, along with the other congregational and educational ministries of the ELCJHL reach out to thousands of individuals and families each year in Jerusalem, other parts of the West Bank, and in Amman, Jordan.

Bishop Younan congratulated Pastor Raheb on his prestigious prize, and expressed his pride in this international recognition for the work of Pastor Raheb and the ministries of the church.

Pastor Mitri expressed his delight in receiving this award and was humbled by the international appreciation and recognition of the efforts made on the local, regional, and international levels.

The ELCJHL is truly growing up generations of workers for peace, justice, and reconciliation, who see the image of God in all they meet and work for the rights and dignity of all.

Pastor Raheb will receive the award in February alongside the three other recipients, Stanislaw Petrow of Russia, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi of Afghanistan, and Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Congo.

For more information about the Deutscher Medienpreis, visit their website at:

Christmas Eve Message from Bethlehem

The congregation gathers together--in pews, on the floor, in the balcony, and at the back, to hear the Christmas Eve message at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

BETHLEHEM/JERUSALEM, 4 January 2012 – Just as Mary and Joseph had difficulties finding room in Bethlehem so long ago, it looked as though worshippers at the Christmas Eve service at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem would have difficulties finding places to sit this year as more and more visitors kept arriving. But the congregation welcomed everyone in for the service, inviting people to line the aisle sitting on the floor, to stand in the balcony and to fill in the space behind the pews at the back. And, despite the crowded space, all stayed to worship and share the Christmas Gospel together in Arabic, German, and English.

As the Christmas Season draws to a close and we approach the season of Epiphany and beyond. As the New Year dawns and we set new goals and make new resolutions. As we continue to wait and work in hope for the fullness of reconciliation, redemption, and wholeness. We invite you to continue to carry the message of Christmas with you this year as we remember:

“Christmas is about welcoming Jesus into our midst, as we welcome the least among us, as we show hospitality to the stranger, for then we may discover that we have been entertaining angels unawares, or even God’s own son.”

– Rev. Fred Strickert, from his Christmas Eve Sermon

Click here or on the photo above to view more photos from the Christmas Eve service.

Click here to watch a video of the Christmas Gospel proclaimed in English, German, and Arabic.

Click here to read the Christmas Eve Sermon Rev. Fred Strickert shared with those gathered.

Mitri Raheb in the US speaking about the Palestinian occupation

Rev. Mitri Raheb

Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb (shown right), ELCJHL pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Palestine, is in the United States this week speaking at a host of venues about conditions in the occupied Palestinian Territories. Raheb was scheduled to speak at several Minnesota churches, as well as at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College, an ELCA college in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

You can access the audio and video of the chapel service at which he preached at the ELCA Luther Seminary on March 4 by clicking here.

Invention of History conference explores intersection of theology, politics

Archeologists, historians, film-makers, theologians and others gathered in Bethlehem on Aug. 23-29 to discuss how their disciplines have contributed to the current situation in Israel-Palestine. Participants in the “Invention of History: A Century of Interplay between Theology and Politics in Palestine” conference hailed from around the world. Notably, a group of South Africans reflected on comparisons of the situation here with those in their country during apartheid.

Organized and hosted by the International Center of Bethlehem, a ministry of ELCJHL Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, the conference was third in a series of five designed to generate research, discussion and writings in support of a just resolution to the conflict. Conference convener Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb said there are already two publishers interested in publishing the papers presented at the conference.

Confirmation Season in the Holy Land

Pastor Mitri Raheb confirmed twelve young people Sunday, May 18, at Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.  On May 4, at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala, Pastor Jadallah Shihadeh and Ass’t Pastor Saliba Rishmawi confirmed 14 young people, and the Lutheran Church of Hope in Ramallah will hold their confirmation on Sunday, June 1.  Please pray for our young people.