The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by an ecumenical group of American Christians to preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land. It began as a collaboration between Mr. Rateb Y. Rabie, a Palestinian American Christian, and Father Emil Salayta, a Jordanian priest serving in Palestine. They believed that if American Christians were told of the desperate situation of the Christians in the Holy Land, American Christians would reach out to help. They were right.
Very quickly, highly respected individuals expressed an interest in serving on the Board of Directors and/or Advisory Board for HCEF. Father Emil also organized a Holy Land Coordinating Committee to set up and supervise HCEF’s local projects. The two boards and the Holy Land Coordinating Committee comprise known, respected and active Holy Land community members (both lay and clergy) from the three Christian traditions—Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant.
HCEF serves all of the Christian denominations within the Diocese of Jerusalem in Palestine, Jordan and Israel. Soon after HCEF was formed, it became apparent that the foundation would need local representatives in American cities where the foundation’s work was taking root. As a result, the Holy Land Christian Support Network (HCSN) was formed.