Bishop Younan Presides Over Installation, Baptism, and Commissioning

The Laying on of Hands for the Installation of Rev. Carrie Smith
The Laying on of Hands for the Installation of Rev. Carrie Smith
(L-R) Rev. Mark Brown, the Church Council Chairperson of the English Speaking congregation, Rev. Mari Parkkinen of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, Rev. Ibrahim Azar of the Arabic Speaking congregation, Bishop Munib Younan, Propst Wolfgang Schmidt, Representative of the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland in Jerusalem, and Rev. Robert Smith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lay hands on Rev Carrie Smith during her installation. (© D. Hudson/ELCJHL)

JERUSALEM – On Sunday, the 23rd of September, Bishop Munib Younan installed Rev. Carrie Smith as the pastor of the English Speaking congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem and as Special Assistant to the Bishop.  Along with her blessing from Bishop Younan, Rev. Ibrahim Azar of the Arabic Speaking congregation, Rev. Mari Parkkinen of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, Rev. Mark Brown, the Church Council Chairperson of the English Speaking congregation, Rev. Robert Smith, both a special advisor to Bishop Younan and Rev. Carrie’s husband, and Propst Wolfgang Schmidt, Representative of the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland in Jerusalem, Rev. Carrie was also surrounded by members of the English and Arabic speaking congregations, as well as her husband and children. Bishop Younan presented the places of Word and Sacrament – the font, altar, and pulpit – after the blessing and the laying on of hands.

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EEC teaches water conservation in rural schools

EEC3

by Kendra Kintzi

In a world filled with mounting concerns about the effects of our human actions on the environment, many of our most precious resources have taken on new dimensions of social and ecological significance. As a critical resource essential to the continuation of all forms of life, water holds a uniquely pivotal place in the spectrum of these debates over natural resources. Access to adequate, safe water is one of the most fundamental human rights necessary for the realization of basic human dignity. Yet for many Palestinians, the struggles of water shortage and daily water insecurity are an all too pressing reality.

The primary water source located under the West Bank, the Western (Mountain) Aquifer, is at risk of overuse and contamination as the construction of military barriers and water-intensive, environmentally-damaging Israeli settlements continues, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs. Individuals and communities who are dependent on agrarian or ruminant lifestyles are particularly vulnerable to this infringement on natural water sources, as their entire social and economic livelihood is jeopardized. Given the strictures imposed by Israeli control over regional water sources, conservation education is the only tool by which Palestinians can take action and maintain access to this crucial resource and human right.

Within this context, the Environmental Education Center has worked hard over the past months to bolster and expand its water conservation programs through educational outreach in public schools. In an effort to reach out to more remote communities beyond the Bethlehem vicinity, the EEC started up a new educational program in November and December with students from government schools in the villages of Janata and Rashaida. Within these rural villages, most families earn a significant part (if not all) of their income either from herding sheep or goats, or cultivating local crops.

Staff members visited these schools with interactive presentations to introduce concepts of responsible water management and sustainable water use, involving the students in hands-on activities to further explore the meaning and significance of this important resource in their lives. After these presentations, the students were taken on field trips to the EEC campus in Beit Jala, where they toured the botanical gardens and learned more about water recycling at our waste-water renewal and natural treatment facility. The students enjoyed a picnic amongst the native trees surrounding the outdoor classroom, and learned more about the importance of water for local bird biodiversity with demonstrations from the bird ringing station.

Teachers, principals and numerous parents also participated in a seminar concerning conservation strategies and simple steps that individuals can take to improve community health and protect precious natural resources at their disposal. Although these are only small steps toward restoring equitable water distribution and sustainable resource use, these activities provided a unique opportunity for students to engage with this pressing issue and begin to formulate innovative new strategies to benefit their communities.

Kendra Kintzi is a volunteer at the EEC through the ELCA’s “Young Adults in Global Mission” program. She is a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Santa Maria, Calif.

ELCJHL welcomes six Young Adults in Global Mission

For the first time, six Young Adults in Global Mission – a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America – have been assigned to Jerusalem and the West Bank. For the next year, they will serve in various ELCJHL school and other ministries. The YAGMs recently met with ELCJHL Bishop Younan, who welcomed them and told them of the important role they can play in “breaking the circle of anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.”

The ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program provides one-year mission service and learning opportunities in international settings. As the young adult volunteers offer themselves in service, they also learn more about themselves, their relationship with God and their place in God’s world. Young adults are transformed by their experiences, equipping them upon return to take on responsibilities within the church and to provide a global perspective on issues facing the church and society.