The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
Who is the Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Amman, Jordan
in Jordan and the Holy Land and what are its ministries?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
(LWF) works in Palestine and Jordan and is made up of about 3000 members in six congregations: five in Palestine (Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour) and one in Amman, Jordan. Membership has declined due to emigration caused by the difficult economic situation and unstable political climate.
The ELCJHL is the only Arabic-speaking Lutheran denomination in the world and the only indigenous Lutheran church in the Middle East. It has a special calling to work for reconciliation among those who have been victimized by war, to concentrate actively on peace education, and to initiate dialogue among Christians, Muslims and Jews for truth and reconciliation.
A network of Lutheran schools in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Beit Sahour and Beit Jala offers excellent, holistic education to both Muslim and Christian young people, emphasizing mutual understanding and promoting common values of tolerance, compassion and peace with justice. Other educational programs include an environmental education center, a kindergarten and a community development center in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Various additional ministries have developed through the ELCJHL congregations:
How do the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
- Grown out of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, al Diyar is a consortium of ministries that includes the International Center in Bethlehem (offering cultural programs in music, art and drama to the community), a Health and Wellness Center and Dar al Kalima Academy (offering secondary degrees in jewelry, media and other arts.)
- Abraham's House, a part of the Reformation Lutheran Church in Beit Jala, was founded to foster interfaith dialogue for young people. The campus of the Reformation church also houses a Boys' Home, which houses up to 40 boys who have either lost parents or come from economically-troubled homes.
- Elderly centers in Jerusalem and Ramallah give basic medical help as well as offer fellowship programs.
Christmas Eve at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the the ELCJHL.The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, also hosts English-language and German-language ministries which provide congregational activities for the international and expatriate community of Jerusalem. The ELCA provides a pastor for the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.
The relationship with the ELCJHL is deepened and extended by its relationships, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, with the New England and Southwest Michigan synods.Peace Not Walls
is the campaign of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to learn, pray and act for peace with justice in the Holy Land. The 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly affirmed this strategy to promote a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the ELCJHL, including evangelism, theological education in the region, general congregational work and mission personnel.
The ELCA also accompanies the Augusta Victoria Hospital
, which is operated and funded by the Lutheran World Federation and has been providing much-needed health care for Palestinians, especially refugees, for 50 years.
The ELCA also helps support the Peace Centre for the Blind, which provides educational and vocational training for visually handicapped Palestinian women. Academic studies in Arabic, Braille, and music are provided, as well as vocational studies such as hand knitting, machine knitting, and sewing for women who have completed high school.
The ELCA also funds significant work through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and Church World Service (CWS).
With a membership of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people, the LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges, and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF’s relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries that are faithful to the fundamental task of the church to participate in God’s mission to all creation.
In Palestine-Israel, ELCA World Hunger
funds help support the Department for World Service work such as:
- Health Services
- Emergency response, relief and rehabilitation
- Conflict resolution
- Crosscutting issues: Gender, advocacy, human rights and environments
The ELCA also works in Palestine-Israel through Lutheran World Releif (LWR). A trusted partner of the ELCA, LWR is a U.S. based agency that works with community based partners in 50 countries. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the work that focuses on:
- Job Training
- Community Development
- Peace-building efforts for Palestinian refugees
Palestine-Israel and Jordan: the context in which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land serves
In addition, the ELCA works through Church World Service (CWS) in Palestine-Israel. Supported by 36 denominations, including the ELCA, CWS is a U.S. based ecumenical organization that works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support CWS initiatives there by providing clean water to those inside the cut-off and conflict torn territory.
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Amman, Jordan
The division of the former British mandate of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel in the years after the end of World War II have been at the heart of Middle Eastern conflicts for the past half century.
The creation of Israel was the culmination of the Zionist movement, whose aim was a homeland for Jews scattered all over the world following the Diaspora. After the Nazi Holocaust, pressure grew for the international recognition of a Jewish state, and in 1948 Israel came into being.
Much of the history of the region since that time has been one of conflict between Israel on one side and Palestinians, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and Israel's Arab neighbours, on the other. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced, and several wars were fought involving Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967. The settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank are home to around 400,000 people and are deemed to be illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.
Jordan is now a constitutional monarchy that ruled the West Bank following the war in 1948 that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel until Israel began its occupation in 1967. Jordan gained its independence from a League of Nations mandate on May 25, 1946, and ratified its constitution January 8, 1952. More than 5.9 million people live in Jordan. Arabic is the official language, while English is understood among the middle and upper classes. In religious practices, 92% of the population is Sunni Muslim and 6% is Christian.
For more information on Jordan, type "Jordan" into an online search engine or visit these links: