Christian leaders serve in the midst of uncertainty

January 31, 2023- Posted in Diocese of Jerusalem, Disabilities, Healthcare

A message from AFEDJ Executive Director Eileen Spencer

As each new report of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem arrives, my heart goes out to all people of the region affected by unrest, uncertainty, and fear for themselves and their loved ones.

In recent Zoom conversations with Christian leaders from Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus, and East Jerusalem, we’ve discussed how American Friends can strengthen our partnerships and most effectively support their remarkable humanitarian ministries.

Last Thursday, the day raids killed nine Palestinians in the West Bank city of Jenin, I spoke with Violette Mubarak, director of the Princess Basma Center in East Jerusalem. Earlier in the day, because they knew the unfolding strife would cause travel to become even more restrictive than usual, Violette directed her staff to shift to virtual therapy sessions for children who would be unable to travel to Jerusalem for treatment. Violette and her staff know that continuity of care is crucial to help these children make gains and achieve their potential.

In conversations with leaders at Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza and St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus, we talked about the difficulties of offering the highest level of care to some of the world’s most vulnerable people despite unreliable decades-old equipment, daily power outages, and shortages of medical supplies and medication. The Christian leaders and staff persist in their ministries of healing despite an uncertain future and the constant possibility of violence erupting in their communities.

“What then should we do?”

In chapter three of the Gospel of Luke, the crowd responds to John the Baptist’s message by asking, “What then should we do?”

John answered:

“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

In the days ahead, as you follow the political events that affect our brothers and sisters and the ministries of healing and compassion they so faithfully offer their neighbors, I ask that you remember them in your prayers. I also ask you to consider making a generous gift to demonstrate your solidarity and support for their mission.

The resilience, resourcefulness, and hope demonstrated by Holy Land Christians under the weight of conditions – conditions that we can scarcely imagine – is truly inspiring. Our commitment to support them should match their determined commitment to those they serve.

No one knows what the coming days and weeks will bring to the region, but I have confidence that the leaders of the Diocese of Jerusalem will continue to serve with love and compassion every child of God who arrives at their door in need.

Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for letting our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land know that their American friends remember them with prayers and support.


Eileen Spencer
Executive Director, AFEDJ