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Peace Not Walls

Lutheran Schools in Holy Land Give Hope

A delegation from the Lutheran World Federation, including LWF President Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and LWF General Secretary Martin Junge visited one of the ELCJHL schools in Ramallah recently. 

Bishop Younan said that the mission of the ELCJHL schools is to prepare young Palestinian women and men to build their state.

“We teach our students to respect human rights—especially women’s rights—to respect freedom of religion and to dialogue with other religions. We emphasize peace education in our schools, and the right for each and every person to live in dignity,” said the ELCJHL bishop who had previously served as pastor of the Ramallah congregation.

The importance of Christian education was also a subject when the LWF delegation met with the Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister Dr Salam Fayyad. The premier noted that the role of Palestinian Christians in Palestinian society was indispensable, and urged encouragement for their efforts.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope, one of the six congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), was founded in the mid 1950s as Palestinian refugees fled to the Ramallah area after the war. The School of Hope began in 1965 as a kindergarten with ten students and two teachers, and graduated its first class of three students in 1979. The school has since been serving the greater Ramallah area and continues to grow. It is currently serving more than 450 students—comprising 20 percent Christians and 80 percent Muslims.

And the constant expansion has led the European Union (EU) to fund construction of a 4,000 square meter building that will accommodate around 500 students, who are now located in the old campus. The new school campus is expected to be ready in 2013 when it will be handed over to the church. The construction of the new campus comes as a result of the EU’s continuous support to the Palestinian education sector not only by increasing the physical capacity of school buildings but also by developing the quality of education in the occupied Palestinian territories.

During the meeting with the premier, General Secretary Martin Junge reiterated the crucial role the Christian communities play in the region through their institutions.

“The importance of the Lutheran schools in the Palestinian context became evident again in the conversation with the Palestinian Prime Minister,” Junge said after the meeting. “I was pleased that the Prime Minister brought up the issue and the importance of the Christian presence among the Palestinians, as a matter of identity for the Palestinian people,” he added.

From the LWF article – Read the full LWF article