The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is preparing for its 8th annual international conference, which will be held on October 20-21, 2006.
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is preparing for its 8th annual international conference, which will be held on October 20-21, 2006. For the past 8 years HCEF has conducted a conference to focus on the needs of Holy Land Christians and HCEF’s organizational response to those needs. The conference theme for 2006, “Opening Doors of Hope in Faith” encourages attendees toward the crucial mission of restoring the hope of Christ to a land so often plagued by despair in recent years, especially in conjunction with HCEF’s own mission to “replace despair with hope, fear with security, and humiliation with human dignity”. As barriers continue to be built up in the region, HCEF hopes that this conference will be a chance to open rather than close doors.
HCEF hopes that the focus of this year’s conference, “Opening Doors of Hope in Faith”, will enable Christians to spread the hope of God that they share with Christians from the Holy Land whose own hope has been damaged by years of persecution. It is HCEF’s sincere desire that the conference may open more doors of opportunity – economically, and spiritually for Christians of the region. Finally, the conference aims to increase connections between Christians from different places and traditions united in their desire to encourage hope for peace, justice, and opportunity for all people.
A wide variety of speakers with specific knowledge of the plight of Christians in the Holy Land will emphasize the importance of the call to “open doors of hope in faith”. Thus far, the confirmed speakers are:
- Coadjutor Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
- Coadjutor Bishop Suhail Dawni of the Episcopalian Church of Jerusalem
- Archbishop Elias Chacour, Archbishop of Galilee of the Melkite Catholic Church
- Bernard Sabella, Representative of Christians in Jerusalem in the Palestinian Council
- Ms. Claudette Habesch, Secretary-General of Caritas Jerusalem
- Rev. Jim Brown; Pastor, Market Square Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg, PA
- Fr. Dr. Majdi Al-Syriani , School Director of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem/ HCEF Co-Founder
- Fr. Emil Salyata, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem/ HCEF Co-founder
- Mr. Serge Duss, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, World Vision US
- Rev. Gary Burge, Ph.D., Professor, Wheaton College
In order to more fully communicate this message of hope, the conference will hold various panels and events including a General Assembly; a Palestinian Cultural Night with Arabic food and Palestinian Traditional crafts, fashions, dancing, and music; and an Awards Banquet in honor of several distinguished supporters of the mission of HCEF .
Highlighted events this year include a Children’s Conference, the Children’s Peace Project, where ten students and two teachers from the Holy Land will be represented. HCEF is also very excited that the conference will include the first ever Arab Christian Conference in connection with the grand opening of the Exhibition of Arab Christian Faith in Culture at the John Paul II Cultural Center in NE Washington DC. Finally, several workshops will be held in conjunction with the Holy Land Christian College Communities and other youth groups.
At this increasingly frustrating time where peace can seem distant in the Holy Land, HCEF’s president, Rateb Rabie, KCHS, urges all to join in the movement to open doors of hope by focusing on the variety of ways people of faith can move beyond the many barriers that exist between the religions, nationalities, and cultures of the Holy Land and advance the causes of peace and hope for all its people.
For more information please visit the 8th International HCEF Conference webpage, contact Rev. Lori Hays at HCEF at (301) 951-9400 ext. 217, or contact HCEF toll free at 866-871-HCEF (4233).