The cities most sacred to the Christians of the world recently have been invaded and severely damaged by military forces of Israel. Both Christians and Muslims suffer equally by this latest catastrophe.
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)*
Emergency Relief Fund Put to Work For The Christians of Holy Land
The cities most sacred to the Christians of the world recently have been invaded and severely damaged by military forces of Israel. Both Christians and Muslims suffer equally by this latest catastrophe. Christians living in their communities have exhausted their savings due unemployment and to severe economic conditions caused by the military occupation. Jesus Christ called on us to be generous during this time of need by our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation established an emergency relief fund to provide humanitarian assistance. Donated tax deductible funds were funneled through the HCEF Committee in Jerusalem, which in turn distributed the funds to a variety of communities and the religious organizations present in the Holy land. Mechanisms were already established to distribute money to needy parishioners.
HCEF received $60,000 in donated funds for the Emergency Relief fund. Under the direction of George Ghattas, HCEFâ€™s chairperson in Jerusalem, 10 job creation projects were established in 10 Christian communities, which include Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala, Ramallah, Taybeh and Aboud. Unemployed Christians vigorously indicated that they did not want charity but work. The projects benefited the local Christian congregations and were mainly used to restore and rehabilitate essential community infrastructure. Over 177 workers and 220 Christian families were benefited by the program through salaries and purchased materials.
During this same time-period, HCEF received $63,000 for its Child Sponsorship Program. This money is used to support scholarships for over 400 Christian children attending school. Due to the high unemployment rate among Palestinian Christians, parents are unable to pay tuition for their children. Thus, the Child Sponsorship program helps to ameliorate the financial stress created in the school system.
These â€œforgotten faithful,â€ the Christians of the Holy Land, have had a continuous presence in the Holy Land since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago. HCEF is engaged in a number of projects that provide hope and support for the beloved Holy Land Christians. HCEF encourages Christians to remain in the Holy Land in order to maintain the Christian legacy in the land where Christianity was born. HCEF provides funds received from donors to support the education of Christian children. HCEF also encourages pilgrimage to the Holy Land and has thus far arranged two Christian pilgrimages during 2002. Military occupation and the Intifada have resulted in the collapse of the tourist and handicrafts industries in the Holy Land. In response, HCEF created markets in the United States for olive wood and mother of pearl handicrafts produced by the 40-50 family workshops in the Bethlehem district. Most importantly, HCEF is creating awareness of the plight of Holy Land Christians and informs Americans about the impact that the military occupation has had on the spiritual, social and economic lives of all Palestinians living in the land where the Prince of Peace was born, taught and died.
The Holy land Christian Ecumenical Foundation is an all-volunteer 501c3 organization with the mission of informing Americans about the ongoing plight of Christians in the Holy Land and provides humanitarian assistance to relieve suffering, educational support and assists in job creation.
* The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation is a tax exempt, non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of Christians in the Holy Land by developing bonds of solidarity with Christians in the United States. HCEF, PO Box 6687, Silver Spring, MD 20906. (301) 871-9222, Fax (301) 871-2277. www.hcef.org. email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Toll Free (866) 871-4233