Baptist Twinning in Israel


Munir Kakish Appeal - helping Christians in Gaza

Lisa Kerry, CBA Regional Minister and Team Leader writes in her introduction to this appeal: We are all aware of the dire situation in Gaza, and an opportunity for us to help has come through an appeal from a Baptist pastor, Dr Munir Kakish. I met him during my recent visit to Israel. He has a church in Ramla in Israel, and also in Ramallah, where he is the founding director of RCO Ministries. He is part of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel with whom we in the CBA are twinned, and so we can transfer support with Gift Aid through Baptist Twinning in Israel .

See below for fuller details:

A bridge of hope? The Baptist witness in Israel and Palestine

2024 visitThree of our Trustees recently visited Israel and the West Bank, meeting with Baptist pastors and other leaders, in a visit planned long before the war. Mark Hirst shared his reflections on this visit in an article on the Baptists Together website:


Mission opportunity: seeking a new Treasurer

BTIAs a charity, Baptist Twinning in Israel are currently seeking a new Treasurer. This voluntary role involves receiving a small number of regular and occasional donations and transferring them together electronically once a quarter to the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel. As a trustee the Treasurer is invited to four trustees’ meetings per year and to present a financial update. These meetings are held on Zoom to save travel and are usually on Monday mornings from 11am -12.15pm. The current Treasurer estimates the job takes up to 8 hours a month. We are looking for someone with appropriate skills and a heart for our work of supporting Baptist churches in Israel/Palestine. If you would like to explore this opportunity to serve the Lord please contact our Chair of Trustees, David Ronco via email.

Visit the Holy Land

tour groupThere is an opportunity to share in a group visit to the Holy Land with a tour led by Rev Stuart Davison in May 2024. For more details please see the Visits page.

NEC project, training leaders for church amongst refugees

NECRev Azar Ajaj of Nazareth Evangelical College writes of a very exciting new opportunity to serve and grow the church amongst refugee communities. NEC has been invited to provide training to raise up new leaders. Please read the letter attached and consider supporting this new and significant work, NEC value the prayers and finances to make this possible. Letter from Azar.

Twenty Years of Twinning, 1999 - 2019

BTIThis year marks 20 years since the Baptist Twinning in Israel began as a charity. You can read an encouraging overview of its work and impact in this article here.

Sharing God's love with Muslim neighbours (May 2019)

ABCIRev Ziad Farraj is a Baptist pastor of the church in Tur'an.  He had opportunity to speak at a community event at the end of Ramadan, which was also following recent tragic events in New Zealand and Sri Lanka where Christians and Muslims were killed while worshipping.

Ziad Farraj is the pastor in a town with a history of tense relations between a Muslim majority and a Christian minority. Invited to speak in a public celebration marking the lighting of a Ramadan lantern, Ziad stood at the spot where last December a Christmas tree was lit and he had shared the gospel message. You can listen to Zaid’s short message (with English subtitles) here.

Recent initiatives in peace-making and reconciliation (April 2019)

NECThe April Newsletter of Nazareth Evangelical College (NEC) reported on some recent initiatives.

"Two of our faculty have once again been putting their scholarship to the service of the church in the Middle East. Recently a team of Arab theologians worked to create an edited volume of essays dealing with the question of the role of the Arab church in Middle Eastern conflicts. Dr. Hanna Katanacho, our academic dean, wrote an article on the principles of peace-making as found in the Sermon on the Mount and as implemented in the ministry of NEC. Dr. Rula Mansour, a specialist in the theology of reconciliation, analysed the history of peace-making efforts by key personalities such as Luther and Ghandi and derived from these efforts principles that can be applied in the Middle East." (Both scholars featrure in NEC's international study programme, outline here).

College President Azar Aja participated in a conference in Antalya, Turkey, sponsored by the Lausanne Initiative on Reconciliation in Israel/Palestine. Its aim is to promote reconciliation within the body of Christ in the region and its motto for this year was "Exploring our Conflicting Identities." There were 27 participants from Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. Azar led a Bible study on John 6:20 in which he shared about the peace we have in Christ in the midst of the storm of the conflict of the Middle East.

Easter event for children sponsored by ABCI  (April 2019)

Easter event, 2019, at Nazareth Baptist SchoolDuring the Easter holiday, 226 children from different churches gathered at the Nazareth Baptist School for a day of fun and fellowship. The program was sponsored by the children's department of the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel and aims to present the love of Christ to these children and was titled “Jesus, who loves me and saved me”.

Group trip to the Holy Land, led by David Ronco (April 2019)

Group visit, April 2019Thirty seven people from 17 different churches enjoyed a wonderful nine day introductory tour of the Holy Land led by David Ronco (Hertford) and Andrew Henton Pusey (Hitchin).   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 church. A visit report with comments from the group is here.

BTI Newsletter  (November 2018)
Read an overview of various items of news and encouragement and how twinning links are developing in our latest newsletter.

Pastors/Leaders Study Tour to Israel and Palestine  (October 2018)

Pastors and Leaders Tour Oct 2018Stuart Davison led a group of 12 from 9 different churches on a Pastors and Leaders Study Tour in October. The eight-day trip meant they were able to meet with church leaders, visit Nazareth Evangelical College (NEC), preach in some church services, and visit biblical sites in Galilee and further south.  The feedback from the group was very positive and encouraging, including mention of sermons being enriched, talks being given and it being a ‘life-transforming’ experience. Relationships between churches in Israel and the UK were enriched.

The remarkable story behind Walsworth Road B.C. twinning with Turan B.C.  (January 2018)
In the summer of 2017, Andrew Henton Pusey (minister of Walsworth Road Baptist Church) was able to visit Turan Baptist Church in Israel for the first time, and meet the church and their pastor, Ziad. During that visit, some of the remarkable background to their twinning came to light, which was shared in a report in the CBA Spring edition of Central News - see the link here.

73 baptisms amongst ABCI churches this year (November 2017)
baptistm by Cana Baptist ChurchBader Mansour, Development Officer with ABCI, shared this joyful update:
It is with great joy that we share with you that there were a record number of baptisms registered this year; 73 people were baptized within the Baptist churches in Israel.

Almost all local churches perform their baptismal services in the Jordan River,  the same river where John the Baptist baptized our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The majority of these outdoor baptisms are done in the warm season and are usually followed by a church picnic close to the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

A video of one such baptism day is available here, from the church at Cana in Galilee, and here, from Kufur Yaseef Baptist Church.

BTI Newsletter (October 2017)
Read an overview of various items of news and encouragement and how twinning links are developing in our newsletter.

Battle Baptist Church visit to Ramallah and Ramla (June 2017)
Ramallah holiday Bible clubRamallah holiday Bible clubRev 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
group visit by Battle Baptist Church to Israel, June 2017stories, 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)
group visiting Holy Land, on Mt of Olives, May 2017Twenty 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
Arab Evangelicals in Israel, Azar Ajaj et alA 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
Pastors study tour groupThe 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).

Pastors study tour group 2They 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)

NEC Graduation 2016Nazareth 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 Ampthill youth group in Shefa'amr, 'God's love is BIG!'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.

ABC and SBC groups, July 2016This 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 2016

Turaan congregationIn 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 in Israel.

Ziad and familyThe pastor of the church at Turaan is Ziad Farraj, and he responded to the  invitation from WRBC as follows:
”This 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
KhalidPastors 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.

NECHe 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
group tour with David Ronco, 2015At 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.

Cana Baptist ChurchThey 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
Andrew, Nader and HannaThe 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.