Recent initiatives in peace-making and reconciliation (April 2019)
The 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)
During 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)
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)
Stuart 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)
Bader 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.
Battle Baptist Church visit to Ramallah and Ramla (June 2017)
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 in Israel.
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.
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.