The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is an apolitical organization that attempts to establish and provide programs, such as employment opportunities, scholarships and subsidized housing as incentives for Christians to remain in the Holy Land.
Washington-based foundation has been, established to respond to the dire living conditions experienced today by Muslim and Christian Palestinians in the Holy Land, The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is an apolitical organization that attempts to establish and provide programs, such as employment opportunities, scholarships and subsidized housing as incentives for Christians to remain in the Holy Land.
HCEF’s president Rateb Rabie said that the idea of creating such a foundation developed out of concern for the continuous flight Of Christians from the Holy Land.
“We seek, to provide financial and spiritual support our brothers and sisters in order to improve the deplorable living conditions which they are forced to endure. We are attempting to replace despair with hope, fear with security and debasement with human dignity,” Said Mr. Rabie.
Preparations are taking place to hold the first fundraiser, which will publicly launch the foundation. It is scheduled to take place on February 5 at 7 p.m. at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC.
Speakers at the banquet will include Fr. Majdi Siryani, Director of the Legal Department at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, and Fr. Drew Christiansen from the Woodstock Theological Center and Counselor of the US Catholic Conference. Other Speakers include Dr. Craig Barnes, Senior Pastor of the National Presbyterian Church; Fr. Emil Salayta, Director of Latin Patriarchate Schools in West Bank, Gaza and Jordan; and George A. Khoury, President of Birzeit Society.
The foundation aims to educate Americans on the “modern-day exodus” of Palestinian Christians, and create a community between the Holy Land and the United States through pilgrims, frequent contacts, publications and communications. It will generate and husband funds through contributions, fundraising activities, prudent investment, and ongoing oversight of the selection of projects and their implementation in support of Holy Land Christian families in need, Another goal is to develop church-to-church, family-to-family partnership programs.
Some projects determined by the new foundation include teaching English to children in the West Bank and Jerusalem, supporting the Beit Jala Arab Society of the Handicapped directed by Dr. Edmond Shehadeh, and marketing olive wood handicrafts in the United States in an attempt to break the suffocating closure imposed by the Israeli military on the West Bank and Gaza strip.
Support will also be provided to the Latin Patriarchate schools in the West Bank and Gaza, which educate Muslim and Christian children, and the Living Stories Housing Project in Birzeit village.
HCEF board includes Rateb Rabie, Rev. Lynne Faris, Fr. Labib Kobti, Paul Zurkowski, Dr. Jack B. Fellows, Don Kruse and George Khoury.
For more information about the foundation or to become a member of the foundation, please call 301-871-9222 or 202362-9127, or write to HCEF at PO Box 6687, Silver Spring, MD 20906.
From Via Dolorosa Magazine
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