Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land|
|Leader||Sani Ibrahim Azar|
|Associations||LWF, Middle East Council of Churches, WCC|
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) is a Lutheran denomination that has congregations in Jordan and State of Palestine. First recognized as an autonomous religious community by King Hussein in 1959, the church currently has 3,000 members in six congregations.
The current bishop is Sani Ibrahim Azar, who was elected in 2017, but consecrated as bishop on 14 January 2018. The bishop emeritus, Munib Younan, retains an official role. Younan is the former President of the Lutheran World Federation (2010–2017), and remains a member of the ELCJHL Council.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land has its origins in the arrival of German and English Protestant missionaries to Jerusalem in the mid 19th century. Protestant missions had begun in the early 19th century, but Protestant Christians had no legal protection in the Ottoman Empire, unlike the Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox, who were legally protected by treaty. In 1840, the King of Prussia, Frederick William IV sent his diplomat, Christian von Bunsen to present a proposal to Queen Victoria of Great Britain for the establishment of a joint Protestant bishopric under the protection of both Prussia and Great Britain.
An agreement was reached to establish a joint bishopric of the Anglican Church of England and the Evangelical Church in Prussia, comprising Lutheran, Calvinist and united Protestant congregations, known as the Anglican-German Bishopric in Jerusalem and this was facilitated by the passing of the Bishops in Foreign Countries Act 1841. The first Bishop was a Jewish convert, Michael Solomon Alexander, who arrived in 1842.
Early Lutheran mission
In 1851, Theodor Fliedner was invited to bring four deaconesses to begin a hospital and the first formal school for girls in the Levant, Talitha Kumi, was set up in Jerusalem. In 1860, Johann Ludwig Schneller set up the Syrian Orphanage in Jerusalem for children who were made homeless or orphaned by civil war in the region.
A provisional chapel for the use of the Prussian Protestants was erected in 1871 on land granted by Sultan Abdülaziz in the Muristan area of Jerusalem. Due to political and theological differences, the joint bishopric was finally abolished in 1886 and the Evangelical mission continued work independently of the Anglicans. Lutherans focused primarily on social work and education while the Anglicans focused on evangelism.
Autonomy and independence
After the Second World War the World Lutheran Federation (WLF) took care of the remnants of the German-initiated Evangelical missions, combining Lutheran, Calvinist and united Protestant efforts. Due to the influence of the WLF the Lutheran aspect prevailed. In 1947, the Lutheran mission was granted autonomy from the Evangelical Church in Germany and in 1959 was recognised as an autonomous religious community by King Hussein of Jordan. The church was then officially named the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan (ELCJ). The ELCJ had by then grew beyond Jerusalem and had set up congregations in Ramallah and Amman to serve Lutheran Palestinians who were refugees of the Arab–Israeli conflict.
In 1974, the ELCJ joined the WLF and in 1979 the first Palestinian bishop, Daoud Haddad, was elected to lead the church. In 2005, the Synod of the ELCJ decided to rename the church to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land to more accurately reflect the work and ministry of the church that spans Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
- 1979–1986: Daoud Haddad
- 1986–1997: Naim Nassar
- 1998–2018: Munib Younan
- 2018–present: Sanid Ibrahim Zanar
At present, there are 6 congregations of the ELCJHL:
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem
- Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church, Bethlehem
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hope, Ramallah
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Beit Jala
- Evangelical Lutheran Church, Beit Sahour
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Amman
Schools and educational programs
The ELCJHL runs four primary schools and other educational projects that serve the broader educational needs of the Palestinian people as a whole. The four primary schools are:
- Dar al-Kalima Evangelical Lutheran School, Bethlehem
- The Evangelical Lutheran School, Beit Sahour
- The Evangelical Lutheran School of Hope, Ramallah
- Talitha Kumi Evangelical Lutheran School, Beit Jala
- Middle East Council of Churches
- Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches
- World Council of Churches
- Lutheran World Federation
- Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land
The ELCJHL also works in partnership with:
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
- Church of Norway
- Church of Sweden
- Palestinian Christians
- Christianity in Jordan
- Christianity in Israel
- Anglican-German Bishopric in Jerusalem
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land: History and Mission Archived 2012-02-15 at the Wayback Machine
- Lutheran World Federation: LWF Statistics 2010 Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land: The Bishop
- Lutheran World Federation: Who We Are - The President Archived 2011-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
- "Bishop Emeritus Dr. Munib Younan". Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. Retrieved 23 August 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Meyer, Philipp (1910). "Jerusalem, Anglican-German Bishopric In". In Jackson, Samuel MacAuley (ed.). The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Encyclopaedia entry) (3rd ed.).
- Anon (1895). Der Herr baut Jerusalem. Eine Denkschrift das Werk der evangelischen Kirchen in Jerusalem (in German). Berlin.
- Mitri Raheb, "Die evangelische lutherische Kirche in Palästina und Jordanien: Vergangenheit und Gegenwart", in: Dem Erlöser der Welt zur Ehre: Festschrift zum hundertjährigen Jubiläum der Einweihung der evangelischen Erlöserkirche in Jerusalem, Karl-Heinz Ronecker (ed.) on behalf of «Jerusalem-Stiftung» and «Jerusalemsverein», Leipzig: Evangelische Verlags-Anstalt, 1998, pp. 183–200, here p. 193. ISBN 3-374-01706-1.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land: Congregations Archived 2011-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land: The Ecumenical Witness of the ELCJHL Archived 2011-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land: International Partners Archived 2011-12-16 at the Wayback Machine