Press Release

Papal Nuncio hosts fundraising lunch for Friends of the Holy Land

His Excellency, the Apostolic Nuncio in Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, hosted a lunch last Saturday (11th June) to further the work of ‘The Friends of The Holy Land’ (FHL). The event, held at the Papal Nunciature in Wimbledon, was organised by John Scanlon KCSG, KGCHS on behalf of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem which supports the Latin Patriarchate in the Holy Land and FHL who focus on grass roots support to Christians living in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan.

 

Among those attending this ecumenical occasion were Emeritus Archbishop Kevin McDonald and Bishop Christopher Chessun, Anglican Bishop of Southwark.

 

John Scanlon, asked those attending to consider the lives of fellow Christians living in the Holy Land,

“How would we feel if we came home one day to find our homes, our incomes, and our capital had vanished or, as in the case of many Christian families, watched as our security slipped away over many years? This is the daily reality faced by fellow Christians living in the Holy Land. Many individual Knights of the Holy Sepulchre support ‘Friends of The Holy Land’ who bring relief directly to individual named Christian families in the region. “

 

Jim Quinn, Chairman of FHL, recently back from a visit to the Holy Land, updated attendees on FHL projects in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Nablus.  He spoke of the significant impact FHL funding was having on patients requiring treatment at hospitals such as  St Luke’s in Nablus and families with house refurbishment programmes in and around Bethlehem.  These schemes not only ensure needy Christian families have access to adequate housing and health care, but also provide employment for hard pressed Christians.

 

Jim Quinn said, “Christians in the Holy Land often feel isolated and forgotten. Through our projects we encourage them to flourish in the land of their birth. We work in ecumenical partnership with Anglican and Catholic Churches over here and with Christians from many denominations in the Holy Land.  Wherever I travelled in the last few days, the level of gratitude expressed for the support offered by FHL in the Holy Land was humbling, proving that we are able to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

 

For more information about the work of the Friends of The Holy Land or to make a donation visit their www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk

 

 

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For further information please contact Marion Homer, FHLCommunications Manager marion.homer@friendsoftheholyland.org.uk

Tel: 01926 512980 07736 611323

Friends of the Holy Land, Farmer Ward Road, Kenilworth, CV8 2DH

Website www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk

Registered Charity Number 1130054

 

 

Note to Editors

FRIENDS OF THE HOLY LAND

 

Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) is a charity established in England and Wales, supporting and helping Christian people and communities in the Holy Land to ensure the survival of a Christian presence.  Our Charity registration number is 1130054.

 

FHL’s Purpose

The Christian people of the Holy Land have been under increasing economic and political pressure in the past seventy years, and during that time the Christian population there has steadily fallen.  FHL was established in 2009 to help and encourage Christians to flourish in the land of their birth, ensuring a secure presence in the land where Christianity began.  Working closely with the churches here and in the Holy Land, our work is entirely non-political, and has the backing and blessing of Anglican and Catholic Bishops in England and Wales. 

 

FHL’s objectives are

  • raising awareness of the challenges facing the Christians of the Holy Land
  • encouraging prayers for their intention
  • generating and chanelling financial resources to give them a sustainable future
  • encouraging visits to the Holy Land to meet local Christians

 

Christians in the Holy Land

Bethlehem and Jerusalem once bustled with local Christians.  The Holy Land around those towns, birthplace of Christianity, is central to the Christian faith, though now only about 200,000 Christians remain there, between 1% and 2% of the population. Those who remain suffer from restrictions to travel, high levels of unemployment and poverty, poor living conditions, a shortage of social services and affordable health care, and constant uncertainty about their present and future. 

FHL believes that the Holy Land must not become a mere cultural museum.  It must continue to be the home of a vibrant, secure, thriving Christian community, the ‘living stones’ of our faith.  We support Christian people and communities, especially children and the elderly, to help them stay there, improve their lives and develop the resilience they need to survive the many difficulties they face.

 

Supporting Christians in the Holy Land

Many international agencies are active in the Holy Land, supporting major projects. FHL concentrates on smaller, sustainable projects that quickly make a big difference to local Christian families, especially the most vulnerable.  Our projects fall into four main categories;

 

Education

FHL supports education in the Holy Land as a vital way to ensure the future of Christian communities, funding students at schools and universities when this is beyond the resources of their families. We also support the School of Joy, offering education for children with special needs.

 

Employment

We provide ‘seed corn’ funding to help new businesses and generate employment, particularly for young people.

 

Health

We fund medicines, operations and hospital visits, and contribute to the hospital treatment of the most needy Christians at St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Nablus and the Medical Centre for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases in Ramallah.  Since its foundation in 2009 FHL has supported St Martha’s House, the first day-care centre for elderly ladies in Bethlehem.

 

Housing

We support projects to divide family houses into two units, and to repair and renovate houses, and we’re now facilitating a ‘new-build’ project of ten affordable apartments for local Christians in Beit Sahour.

 

Many of FHL’s projects are in the West Bank, where most of the Christian families of the Holy Land remain, although we also work in Gaza, Israel and in Jordan where FHL is supporting Christian Iraqi refugees.

 

Pilgrimage

FHL believes that Christian pilgrims should both visit the Holy Places of our faith and spend time with the Christian people of the Holy Land, to observe the difficulties they face and the frustrations and insecurity that are a major part of their lives.  It is also the best way to show our support, friendship, affection and gratitude, so they know they are not alone. FHL supports the Christian economy by encouraging pilgrimage companies to use Christian-owned restaurants, hotels and transportation companies whenever possible.

 

Organisation

Friends of the Holy Land has a National Management Committee that reports to a Board of Trustees and meets regularly to guide our work in the Holy Land, review progress and plan future projects. The Trustees ensure full accountability for all funds raised and distributed by FHL and its partners.

 

We also have a Holy Land Committee, with its roots in the Christian communities there, to advise the FHL National Committee on local issues and identify projects for our support.

 

FHL supporters are mainly organised through groups in Anglican and Catholic parishes across England and Wales. Each group has a team to organise fundraising events and increase awareness of the many issues facing Christians in the Holy Land.

 

FHL’s website is www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk

 

For further information please contact Marion Homer, Communications Manager marion.homer@friendsoftheholyland.org.uk,

telephone 01926 512980