End-of-Year Appeal & Message

During Advent, we celebrate the Light who came into this world. Nazareth Hospital and School of Nursing, Arab Christian institutions, are ministries that bring light and healing in a context of struggle. One month ago, we gathered near Lancaster, PA. to celebrate 25 years of the Nazareth Project, Inc. (NPI). I am grateful for your interest and support.

During 2016, the Nazareth Project successfully processed a $500,000 grant, via the USAID American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program (ASHA), to support an upgraded Pediatrics department. In 2015 the first Nazareth Hospital Cardiac Catheterizations were performed using equipment funded through our efforts.

In 2017 a new grant application will seek support for a mobile clinic for outreach to Palestinian patients in the West Bank, with peacebuilding training for medical staff.

Facilitating major grants for Hospital development is the core of what NPI does, but there is more:

  • medical exchange visits for U.S. experts and Nazareth Hospital staff
  • medical and peacebuilding work in the West Bank
  • specialization training for Palestinian doctors
  • a campaign to raise medical relief funds for Gaza hospitals
  • support for the chaplaincy department, and scholarships for the nursing school

By giving to the Nazareth Project, you have been part of this work. Thank you for your commitment to the Nazareth Hospital and for helping to keep it a dynamic presence in Israel and Palestine!

I invite you to make NPI a central part of your giving again this season.

Grace and peace,

J. Robert Herr, President

Robert Herr appointed new NPI president

Robert HerrOn July 9 I joined Nazareth Project’s staff following Berry Friesen’s resignation so he could give his full-attention to an unexpected personal medical challenge.  We are all concerned for Berry’s recovery and hope the work he took up as an interim President can go forward.  So, I was asked to support this work, especially new initiatives from NPI’s Board of Directors.   It is not hard for me to see the value in this work, and I’m pleased to have an opportunity to contribute in this way.

Over the years, the core supporters of NPI have been health practitioners, many of whom worked in or visited Israel and Palestine.  Thanks to this group of people nearly $4 million has been provided to support the Hospital in Nazareth, Israel during the past quarter century.

To continue this important work, even more supporters are needed.  The long work to provide contemporary medical services to a diverse and frequently conflicted community relies much on the presence of  this long-valued Hospital.  Its story is very compelling and NPI aims to fill many of these needs.  I expect our supporters will want to continue to help as they become acquainted with the history and legacy of the Nazareth Hospital. .

My personal story focuses much on work in Africa, with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), to support the work of the church in peacebuilding and emergency relief work.  So, for me it is not difficult to see the work of the Nazareth Hospital as needed and useful.  I led MCC programs in Southern and Eastern Africa for many years, where hospitals provide important support to the communities they serve.

The Nazareth Hospital, however, provides much more than a medical service.  Its core mission, for the past 150 years is, certainly, physical healing, but it also holds up the message and image of God’s peace in the midst of diverse religious communities and traditions.  It is an encouragement to the Arabic-speaking community of the Galilee, enabling this community especially to be more resilient and resourceful, better able to seek reconciliation and pursue peace.  The peace of Christ by following the way of Jesus is a vision for the healing of all nations.  And the nations of  the Middle East are today seeking a peace and reconciliation message as much as any time in the past.

I hope to bring the experience and understanding I have accumulated to this important work.  Thankfully, NPI staff also includes Karen Miller Rauch, continuing as our Grants Administrator and Jason Allgire as our Operations, Communications and Events Coordinator.   We look forward to talking with you soon about widening our circle of support.

Elias Chacour — Peace, Reconciliation, Respect, and Justice

Elias Chacour with NPI Board Member Bonnie Zehr

Elias Chacour with NPI Board Member Bonnie Zehr

Elias Chacour, the Palestinian Christian who has dedicated his life to making peace inside Israel, brought his testimony and witness to a Nazareth Project luncheon April 11 in Wilmington, DE.

Speaking to a group of 25 Nazareth Project supporters who traveled to Wilmington for the occasion, Abuna Chacour (as he is affectionately known) spoke of his struggle to build and maintain a school for Muslim, Jewish, Druze and Christian children and youth in Ibillin, a town in Galilee (northern Israel).

The Israeli government has repeatedly blocked his efforts (usually by denying permits to build), but Chacour has persisted.  Today, more than 3,000 students attend the private schools Chacour began.  Together, they are known as the Mar Elias Educational Institutions.

As Chacour puts it, “the future of the villagers in Ibillin, of the citizens of the state of Israel, and indeed the future of all of God’s children in the Holy Land, depend on educating the young in the ways of peace, reconciliation, respect, and justice.”

Chacour is well acquainted with Nazareth Hospital and School of Nursing. He spoke highly of its work and expressed appreciated for the steadfast support Nazareth Project  has provided.

During the Q & A that followed, Chacour spoke candidly of the “second class” citizenship Palestinians hold in Israel.  Yet he also cautioned against any form of animosity against Jews, whom he consistently refers to as “brothers.”

“We belong to this land together—Christian, Muslim, Druze and Jew,” he said.  “To Americans, I say:  we welcome your support and personal involvement, but not if it comes with hostility toward any of our neighbors.”