HCEF LEADERSHIP WORKING RETREAT
Bringing together Leader Volunteers from across the US!
Dr. Saliba Sarsar, HCEF Board Secretary shared an inspiring presentation focusing on HCEF’s core values (ecumenical, based on Christian peace and justice, service oriented, transparent) as the path for putting faith into action. HCEF’s programs goals are intended to strengthen its outreach, advocacy, charity, and development. Dr. Sarsar stressed that during this Holy Season, we need to be “Walking alongside Jesus” as we seek to support the “Living Stones” of Christianity in the Holy Land. Dr. Sarsar stressed HCEF’s role as a bridge between peoples, its dedication to peace and justice and the need for its people to be servant leaders in strengthening communities.
The afternoon session focused on the 16 HCEF programs, and the need for staff and volunteers to provide leadership in strengthening and implementing the programs in their areas of concentration.
“These programs, whether traditional or newly developed, provide immeasurable support in helping to ameliorate the lives of our brothers and sisters living under occupation in the Holy Land. Our work here assures them that they are not alone in their pursuit of peace and justice,” said Sir Rateb.
Sir Rateb also introduced the new Know Thy Heritage (KTH) video being developed. The KTH Program was created to introduce Palestinian youth of the diaspora to their Palestinian heritage. Dr. Hugh Dempsey, Vice President, HCEF Board of Directors and Dr. Hanna Hanania, HCEF Board Member presented an informative photo tour of the new Bethlehem Museum for Palestinian Culture and Heritage, and discussed the significance of the Museum and its artifacts in preserving the Palestinian Cultural Heritage. They also challenged us to strongly consider the role can we play in promoting the Palestinian Christian heritage from the American
perspective and from the perspective of the Palestinians in the Diaspora.
HCEF’s Advocacy and Outreach Program has been revisedand revamped to effectively address today’s challenges. Led by Jeff Abood, KHS, HCEF Advocacy and Outreach Director, the Advocacy and Outreach Committee will work to widen the outreach of HCEF on all levels.
Christine Hobbi and Dr. Steve Corbin, Sr. Vice President, Constituent Services, Special Olympics, gave an insightful and important overview of the USA Churches and Investing in Palestine. “How can we, as servant leaders, develop an arm for each denomination, engage our churches and actively promote business, job creation, economic sustainability and solidarity in the Holy Land?” they asked. As an example of Positive Investment, Christine and Steve shared the excellent example and impact the Presbyterian Church is making by mandating positive investment for peace in Palestine. “What can we all do to follow this example in finding ways to attract investment and expand job opportunities in Palestine?” Retreat participants were encouraged to go beyond themselves and ‘Ask‘, ‘Seek‘ and ‘Knock‘ and the doors will be opened.
Later in the day, participants broke into smaller groups for open discussion and to develop specific recommendations for implementing the three main objectives of each session: Creating Jobs and Economic Growth in Palestine Promoting Palestinian and Christian Heritage, and Ecumenism through Outreach and Advocacy.
Marriott, 1221 22nd Street, Washington, DC. The Annual Awards Banquet, held in conjunction with the 15th International Conference, will be held Friday, October 18, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, also at the Washington Marriott! The retreat culminated with a dinner party allowing participants to continue networking, sharing and fellow shipping with one another! HCEF is moving forward as we continue Putting Our Faith In Action!