Battle Baptist Church visit to Ramallah and Ramla (June 2017)
Rev Mike Hirst, Associate Minister of Battle Baptist Church in Sussex writes about an exciting visit a group from his church made this summer to their twinned churches in Ramallah and Ramla:
In June this year a group of 16 from Battle Baptist Church visited Ramallah to help lead a summer camp for 85 Palestinian children. Ramallah Local Church is an evangelical church in the West Bank whose sister church - Ramla Baptist Church - is in Israel. The group gathered with the local church for Sunday worship, led Bible stories, craft activities and games during the five mornings of the camp and were able to tour the sites in the afternoon. They then went up to Tiberias for four days after the summer camp finished to see more of the Holy Land, including a visit to Azar Ajaj at Nazareth Evangelical College to see how the Arabic library project is coming along. The trip finished with a day down by the Dead Sea. Although some in the group had gone primarily to see the sites, it was encouraging to hear many of them reflect that the best part of the trip was being involved with the children during the summer camp, which whilst challenging (given the varying backgrounds of the children present and the language barrier), was a huge privilege, blessing and joy. We thank God for this wonderful opportunity to deepen the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters in these churches, for all the things God taught us through them, and for the ways in which he met with us during our time there. Unsurprisingly, there are already plans afoot to go back next year!
Group trip to the Holy Land, led by David Ronco (May 2017)
Twenty six people from 15 different churches enjoyed a wonderful nine day introductory tour of the Holy Land led by David Ronco (Hertford) and Andrew Goldsmith (Ampthill). The group explored many Biblical sites and also met with local Christians in Nazareth, Cana and Bethlehem. It was a privilege to walk where Jesus walked and a blessing to see how the Lord is working there today through his people.
Members of the group from Walsworth Road Baptist Church, Hitchin, visited their twinned church in Tu'raan, and members of Ampthill Baptist Church also visited their twin in Shefa'amr, sharing in the worship services and meeting the fellowship there. A report with some photos is available here.
BTI Newsletter, January 2017
Read an overview of various items of news and encouragement and how twinning links are developing in our newsletter.
'Arab Evangelicals in Israel', by Rev. Azar Ajaj
A significant new book, produced by the President of Nazareth Evangelical College (NEC).
David Ronco's book review is available here.
Pastors Study Tour to Israel, September 2016
The recent Pastors’ Study trip to Israel/Palestine was a great success - for those who went and for the living stones they went to meet. Participants who went with the Revd Stuart Davison were the Revd Dennis Nolan and his son Chris (worship leader at Battle Baptist Church), the Revd Mark Hirst (Associate Minister at Battle Baptist), Rev Sally Allan (Associate Minister and evangelist at Tonbridge Baptist), Pastor Richard Spicer and Mrs Christine Spicer (Paddock Wood Baptist), John Grant (Moderator of London Baptist Association), Trevor Matewe (youth and worship leader at West Green Baptist, North London), and Josephine Carrena (West Green Baptist, evangelist).
They visited Nazareth Baptist school (and took two assemblies), the Nazareth Evangelical College, about 8 churches, in which they preached or led study groups, as well as seeing sights in Galilee, Nazareth, Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Qumran. They met with leaders of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel (ABCI) and enjoyed good fellowship with Baptist brothers and sisters. Having some musicians in the group led to some post-service jam sessions. Everyone returned home safely, having made some good friends and, hopefully, had their horizons widened and with new understandings of Scripture.
NEC Graduation (September 2016)
Nazareth Evangelical College celebrated its second graduation ceremony on Saturday September 3rd 2016. Ten students graduated (three women and seven men) from two programs: the BA in Biblical Studies and the MA in Leadership and Christian Ministries. The college’s graduates come for various walks of life and are involved in several Christian ministries.
You can read more of this encouraging news here.
Ampthill BC youth visit to Shefa'amr, July 2016
A group of 6 young people from Ampthill Baptist Church visited the twinned church of Shefa'amr BC in Galilee, to support a week-long holiday Bible club run by the church, and connect with the young people there.
This was a challenging, encouraging and transforming experience for the group, and richly rewarding in the ongoing twinning relationship. A fuller report is available here.
New twinning begun - Walsworth Road, Hitchin, and Turaan, June 2016In
June 2016, Walsworth Road Baptist Church in Hitchin, Hertfordshire were
delighted to be able to enter into a twinning relationship with Turaan
Baptist Church, which is located in the north of Israel near Nazareth.
Turaan is an old village located in Galilee with a population of about
14 thousand people. WRBC were inspired to begin this twinning
relationship after a visit by members of their congregation to Israel,
on one of the regular trips run by Rev David Ronco of Baptist Twinning
The pastor of the church at Turaan is Ziad Farraj, and he responded to the invitation from WRBC as follows:
is a great news to hear about Walsworth Road Baptist Church wanting to
build a twinning relationship with Turaan Baptist Church. For us this is
a prayer answer that we prayed for for many years and we had the faith
that God will do it in the right time. This is another sign and a
confirmation for us in Turaan Baptist Church, and for me, Ziad; and
Saleem that God is leading us in this transition year. And for me
especially this is an answer to a prayer that this kind of relationship
will be clarified and built in the following months”.
More info available via the WRBC website.
Two ABC Pastors visit SEBA, March 2016
Pastors Saleem Hanna from Turan BC in Galilee, and Khalid Dally from Kfar Yousif (Josephus’s town) shared in the South East Baptist Association’s pastors’ conference in February. They shared their heart for the Lord and strength of faith in a tough situation, inspirationally, and were very well received.
They also preached and shared in Hawkhurst and Sandhurst Baptist Churches on the Sunday, and again they were well-received. Although the visit was only for a few days, it was a very positive time.
Rev Azar Ajaj, President of NEC, visit to UK, March 2016
Rev Azar Ajaj is the President of Nazareth Evangelical College and is studying for a distance-learning PhD at Spurgeons College. During his twice-yearly weeks in the UK he preaches in UK churches. In March he shared in Sheddingdean, Tenterden and Battle BC's in the South-East, and also on Premier Radio with Stuart Davison, SEBA’s Regional Team Leader.
He also spent time with Jim and Julia Binney (Knaphill) who some years ago enjoyed a month’s sabbatical programme in Nazareth that had been arranged by NEC.
Group trip to the Holy Land led by David Ronco, November 2015
At the beginning of November 2015, 37 people from 15 different churches in the Central and London Baptist Associations enjoyed a nine-day trip to the Holy Land. Pictured here in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, the group, led by David and Jacqueline Ronco, shared many memorable experiences during their time in Nazareth and Galilee and then in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was inspiring and challenging to walk where Jesus once walked and to let the Bible come alive.
They also met with local Arab Christians, as in Cana Baptist Church (pictured here), and visited Nazareth Baptist School and Bethlehem Bible College. It was an eye-opener especially for first-timers to see what the Lord is doing today, and to visit Biblical sites.
David leads these excellent BTI introductory tours and the next trip is planned for May 2017. If you would like to join him then and make this journey of a lifetime please contact him via email.
BTI Trustees visit Israel, January 2015
Two trustees of BTI, Geoff Colmer (CBA Regional minister) and Peter Eyre, visited the ABC early in 2015.
Between them, in the 6 days Geoff and Peter shared in 8 churches, 2 Colleges (Nazareth Evangelical College and Bethlehem Bible College), the Nazareth Baptist School, and met with a number of pastors and leaders. The churches have a strong musicality and heart for mission, and Geoff and Peter were updated on situations in the ABC and gained an updated regional perspective.
Geoff brought a particular word of encouragement for the churches, based on the parable of the mustard seed: a) Don’t despise the small things; b) be faithful in the small things; c) trust God to be working in the small things. Also, be thankful for the small things.
Geoff and Peter had useful and encouraging meetings. The programme was full, the hospitality and welcome was heart-warming, and they were encouraged by the strength of the believers in a tough situation.
4 ABC pastors visit SEBA Ministers’ Conference and share in UK churches, February 2014
The visit was encouraging and informative, with time and input at the conference being well received and also the visiting pastors’ time in churches. Michael Kakish (Ramallah) shared in Battle, Andrew Ghazaleh (Nazareth) in West Green Crawley, Hanna Eid (Eilaboun) in Leighton Buzzard, and Nader Hayek (Shefa’amr) in Ampthill. The visit was well-received and helped to introduce ABC pastors to UK churches and strengthen links between the Associations.