As we Christians gather early on Easter morning to proclaim that “Jesus is risen,” our imaginations will once again take us to that first glorious morning of Resurrection!
Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen! (Luke 24:5-6)
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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we Christians gather early on Easter morning to proclaim that “Jesus is risen,” our imaginations will once again take us to that first glorious morning of Resurrection! Many of us will gather outdoors as we try to recapture the feel and sound and smell of that garden just outside of Jerusalem, where the sun rose to reveal that the tomb was empty! On that morning, may we be reminded that halfway around the world, in that very place where Jesus was born, died, and rose from the dead, there will also be Christians celebrating the Resurrection. The indigenous Christians of the Holy Land will also awaken on Easter morning to observe the Easter holy day.
While these Christians have been in the Holy Land since that first Easter, their numbers are dwindling year by year. This is occurring not because of any lack of faithfulness among these followers of Christ, but because of the conditions which make life in the Holy Land insufferable for many. Ongoing violence and strife over control of the land, political issues, and economic hardships made worse by the expanding separation “wall” all come together to prompt many indigenous Christians to seek relief by emigrating from their homeland. With about 60% unemployment, and both personal and economic hardships as a daily part of their lives, their departure from their homeland is not by choice but by necessity. The remaining Christians constitute only about 2% of the Holy Land population, and their numbers will continue to decrease unless we, their fellow Christians here in the West, can provide the support and encouragement needed for them to persevere.
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With your support, HCEF is able to offer various kinds of help and hope to the Christian churches, schools, and families of the Holy Land to help continue the Christian presence there. Your donation helps make it possible to achieve the following:
To make all these programs possible, HCEF relies upon the contributions of donors. Funds are increased not through large grants, but dollar by dollar through donations from concerned individuals, churches and groups. HCEF is proud of the fact that 90% of every donated dollar goes to programs, with every dollar maximized for programs rather than for glossy promotional materials.
Yet as the needs of the Holy Land Christians continue to grow, HCEF attempts to grow its programs in response to these needs, and administrative costs become more significant. With larger and more wide-reaching programs of support, HCEF is in need of additional resources to cover increased operational needs. With its broad-ranging endorsement by the churches in the Holy Land and the U.S., HCEF has received invitations to work in many more cities and dioceses around the U.S., but it is limited in its ability to respond because it lacks the resources to hire staff and manage volunteers.
In order to ensure the sustainability of our program operations, HCEF must address a longstanding need for operational funding and contribute a larger amount of resources to administration. To this end, HCEF will soon launch the Building Hope campaign to build a stronger base of operational support for HCEF programming. Even before the official launch of the Building Hope campaign, I invite you to make an Easter contribution of unrestricted funds to help cover HCEF operational expenses and allow us to continue developing programs to maintain the indigenous Christian presence in the Holy Land.
While you will likely receive many requests for assistance this season, please consider a financial contribution to help change lives in the Holy Land. For every dollar donated to its operational support, HCEF can multiply that amount in concrete support to the Holy Land by using your gift to maintain, improve and expand our programs.
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Your support of this Easter Appeal is urgently needed. Your gift will help HCEF sustain a 2000-year-old Christian voice for peace in the Middle East, and will remind families celebrating Easter in the Holy Land that they are not alone.
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS