On 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.