UK Churches back Palestinian Christians at Advent festival

MPs, peacemakers, singers and scripture scholars are among those speaking and performing at a weekend celebration in London,  which aims to connect Christians in the Holy Land with the Churches in the UK.

More than 20 organisations including Amnesty International, Olive Aid, the Jerusalem Eye Hospital and Bethlehem University will be exhibiting at the ‘Hope for the Holy Land’ festival at Holy Apostles church hall near Victoria Station on 28-29 November.

The festival includes talks, films, exhibits, musical performances and children’s games, a cafe serving Palestinian delicacies, as well as opportunities to buy Christmas presents of olive wood crafts, wine, oil, soaps and cards.

Performers include the British Palestinian singer and broadcaster Reem Kelani, who sets traditional Palestinian poets to music.

John Pontifex (Aid to the Church in Need) and Richard Jones (Bible Lands) will speak on the challenges facing Christians in the Holy Land, while Pat Gaffney (Pax Christi), the veteran campaigner Bruce Kent, Colin Breed MP (Council for Arab-British Understanding) and Rev. Nadim Nassar (Awareness Foundation) are among those identifying paths to peace in the region.

A film  dramatising the plight of Bethlehem will be shown, by the Anglican vicar and Jerusalem cathedral canon Garth Hewitt (Amos Trust). 

The festival’s organiser, Della Shenton of 5th Gospel Retreats, said: “This is the first event of its kind – a weekend celebration of Palestinian Christianity and culture which aims to connect the Church in the UK with the beleaguered people of the Holy Land”.

5th Gospel Retreats was set up in 2006 in solidarity with Palestinian Christians and those working for justice and peace in the Holy Land.

“’Hope for the Holy Land’ is about bringing together people of faith to overcome the isolation felt by Christians in the area, “ she added. “It’s about keeping the connections and the solidarity alive – keeping the flame of Advent burning to light our way to peace.”

Entry free. For full programme, location details, poster etc. see:

Tags: 5th Gospel Retreats, Aid to the Church in Need, Amnesty International, Amos Trust, Awareness Foundation, Bethlehem University, Bible Lands, Bruce Kent, Colin Breed MP, Council for Arab British Understanding, Della Shenton, Garth Hewitt, Holy Apostles, Hope for the Holy Land festival, Jerusalem Eye Hospital, John Pontifex, Olive Aid, Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi, Reem Kelani, Rev Nadim Nassar, Richard Jones

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