A new HCSN committee was formed recently in San Antonio because of a recent visit by Rateb Rabie, KHS, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, and Duane Burchick, KHS, Coordinator for the Child Sponsorship program. The new committee is co-chaired by Deacon Tom Fox and his wife, Mary Jane Fox, Directors of the Pilgrim Center of Hope, San Antonio (www.pilgrimcenter.com).
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)*
New Holy Land Christian Support Network (HCSN) Committee Formed in San Antonio
A new HCSN committee was formed recently in San Antonio because of a recent visit by Rateb Rabie, KHS, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, and Duane Burchick, KHS, Coordinator for the Child Sponsorship program. The new committee is co-chaired by Deacon Tom Fox and his wife, Mary Jane Fox, Directors of the Pilgrim Center of Hope, San Antonio (www.pilgrimcenter.com). Committee members include Sr. Martha Ann Kirk and Fr. Christopher Philips, pastor of Our Lady of Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio. Our Lady of Atonement Church enjoys a partnership with the Catholic Church in Ain Arik, a small Christian village in the West Bank in Palestine.
Deacon Tom and May Jane Fox completed 20 pilgrimages to the Holy Land and, as a result, have developed deep personal ties to the Christians living there. Through their interest, the partnership between Our Lady of Atonement Church and Ain Arik Catholic Church was established. They were responsible for sponsoring a symposium attended by over 50 people of all denominations on the Christians of the Holy Land on August 29. At the symposium, Mr. Rabie, Fr. Christopher Philips and Mary Jane Fox discussed the situation in the Holy Land and the “Forgotten Faithful,” the Christian community living in the Holy Land. All the speakers discussed the plight of Arab Palestinian Christians, descendents of the original Christians, and their struggle to maintain their presence in the Holy Land despite the brutal military occupation and curfews imposed by the Israeli Defense Force. Mr. Burchick discussed the Child Sponsorship and Partnership programs sponsored by HCEF. Mr. Rabie was interviewed for an hour on the TV program “Catholicism Live” on CTSA with the Hosts Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox. The interview focused on the diminishing presence of the descendents of the Christians in the Holy Land who were the first to hear the teachings of Jesus Christ. Mr. Rabie met with H.E. the Most Reverend Patrick F. Flores, D.D., Archbishop of San Antonio. All of these discussions concentrated on establishing a HCSN Committee in San Antonio that will support and provide solidarity with the Christians in the Holy Land. The newly established committee will hold its first meeting on September 9, 2002 at the Pilgrim Center of Hope, 7680 Joe Newton in San Antonio, (210) 521-0288. The meeting will review plans for an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil and a Symposium on the Christians of the Holy Land.
While in Texas, Mr. Rabie met with Most Reverend Joseph Fiorenza, D.D. Bishop of Galveston-Houston and Rev. William Venderbloemen, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. Rev. Venderbloemen’s congregation established a partnership with the Latin Church in the Christian village of Smakieh, Jordan and for many summers has sent youth from his church to support the summer camp program in Smakieh. Both religious leaders renewed their pledge to support the Christians in the Holy Land and build solidarity with the churches there. At the completion of his travels in Texas, Mr. Rabie remarked to his hosts, ” The faithful people of Texas make me believe that the Forgotten Faithful of the Holy Land will no longer be forgotten.”
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* 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, 6975 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20815 (301) 951-9400, Toll Free (866) 871-4233, Toll Free Fax (301) 866-871-4234. www.hcef.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,