Palestine: Solidarity in “small acts” that keep hope alive

10 May 2024

With its income-generating activities mostly grounded by the war in Gaza, the Palestinian Lutheran church extends small acts that keep hope alive, thanks to solidarity from the Lutheran communion.


Communion Solidarity Fund ELCJHL

Children receiving Christmas gift parcels. Photo: ELCJHL  

LWF Communion Solidarity Fund provides rapid short-term response during emergencies  

(LWI) – Teenagers received small crosses and chocolates. Younger children took part in fun activities and got gift parcels. And, staff working at the guesthouse whose revenue sources have been depleted could get their monthly salaries. Such small acts by the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) have kept hope alive during difficult times.  

The ELCJHL activities are among short-term projects made possible through The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Communion Solidarity Fund. The LWF launched the fund in 2023 so that churches can support each other by providing rapid short-term response during unforeseen events. 

The war in Gaza has grounded nearly all of the Palestinian church’s income-generating activities, and the church has turned to its partners including the LWF to support the running costs of congregations, and respond to requests from congregants and community members for basic needs’ assistance.  

The LWF fund provided EUR 10,000 toward ELCJHL’s “Hope and Joy for Christmas” project that reached 2,000 people including more than 500 children in six congregations. Through the fund, congregations could buy gifts for their members and organize small activities for the children during Christmas day or its eve. “A message of hope was shared with the kids that day, and a word of thanks to the LWF for sharing those gifts with us,” noted Rev. Rodny Said, pastor of the Ramallah congregation in the West Bank.

A message of hope was shared with the kids that day, and a word of thanks to the LWF for sharing those gifts with us,

– Rev. Rodny Said, ELCJHL Ramallah congregation

They are not alone  

At the Church of Hope, teenagers received small crosses and chocolate. “The cross was for them to wear and remind them that they are not alone. That through the cross they are stronger,” Said noted. 

“Through these small acts, we sometimes make a huge difference in the life of kids. This Christmas, we were not able to celebrate, but at least we were able to make the kids happier for a few days,” he added.  

There are no tourists visiting historical and holy sites in Palestine since the beginning of the war. This has significantly affected the hospitality industry and facilities such as the ELCJHL Abrahams Herberge guesthouse in Beit Jala. The church requested EUR 5,000 from the LWF fund to mitigate the effects of income loss on operational costs such as salaries, expenditure for utilities and land tax, among others. “This grant helped us to continue to pay the salaries of the workers at the guesthouse, especially with no income from the guesthouse during this period,” pastor Said added.

The Communion Solidarity Fund is built on the model of church-to-church mutual solidarity that was particularly visible during the COVID-19 pandemic and LWF’s Rapid Response Fund (RRF). Over a two-year period, churches across the LWF communion initiated around 200 RRF projects addressing the basic needs of the most vulnerable people, and providing resources and capacity to put them back on the path toward economic recovery and a future with hope. 

LWF/P. Mumia