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Our aim is to encourage the education of the next generation of Christians in the Holy Land.
Our latest newsletter is here.

In this Season of Advent we are encouraged to pray earnestly for peace in the Holy Land

Fervent Messages from Pope Francis:

“I continue to follow the conflict in Israel and Palestine with much worry and pain,” he said. “I renew my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire: there is so much suffering there.” “I encourage all parties involved to resume negotiations,” the Pope added, “and call on everyone to make an urgent commitment to get humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

“Unarmed civilians are the objects of bombings and shootings. And this happened even inside the Holy Family parish complex, where there are no terrorists but families, children, people who are sick or disabled, nuns.”

Reflections from the Holy Land by Sami El-Yousef, CEO of Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem:
October 2023 (I): The Excitement of a New Cardinal in Jerusalem
October 2023 (II): Gaza Again!

Forty Years of Cambridge Nazareth Trust

Forty years ago, three farsighted Holy Land Pilgrims from East Anglia organised a new charity, Cambridge Nazareth Trust.  CNT supported disadvantaged children in Deaf and Blind Schools and Orphanages, supplying essential items from braille typewriters to gym equipment.  Generous benefactors made it possible to repave dangerous playgrounds, create an education sponsorship scheme, build bridges across dangerous roads bisecting schools, create English corners and bring teachers from the schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ) to the UK to observe our schools.

LPJ schools depend on charity, receiving no state funding except a little in Israel. The 44 LPJ schools in Jordan, Israel and Palestine provide a broad and balanced education, particularly for girls. Christian and non-Christian students are welcomed and acquire mutual tolerance and understanding.

With the schools’ access to teacher training limited, CNT has recently focused on developing teachers’ skills, ensuring rich learning experiences for their pupils.  In 2011, an innovative English Project helped to transform education, with specialist tutors travelling to Amman and Ramallah giving workshops and observing teachers in their classrooms.  With Covid lockdowns, training moved online: digital literacy for pupils and teachers developed, now including those in Gaza.  In 2022, all kindergartens received training in English Phonics.

Fluent English is an invaluable asset for later life chances, enabling these students to make an important contribution to the development of their communities.

In 2023, CNT continues to support these schools, for as Pope Francis reflected during his own visit to Jordan: “Christian communities … present in this country since apostolic times [are] contributing to the common good of the society of which they are fully a part.” The January 2023 report of visiting Bishops from Europe and other countries highlighted Christian schools as places of human flourishing and encounter between faiths. They witnessed the prophetic care Christians extend towards people with disabilities and their families and heard of the important role that Christians play in building bridges of hope between communities. They met many young Christians who, despite facing significant social and economic challenges, remain resolutely committed to enriching both Church and society.

Easter Reflections 2022

Extract from notes of Sami El Yousef, CEO of LPJ, 4 April 2022

“The Palestine Schools Directorate recently organised a three-day capacity building conference to all teachers and staff there. The feeling of commitment, loyalty and dedication sensed during the conference is a great source of comfort that our students are in safe hands. Not only were we able to implement many capital development and equipment/furniture upgrades at a number of schools during the year, but the passion of the teachers to improve their skills and be engaged in various capacity building schemes was just breathtaking.”

CNT can attest to the LPJ teachers’ passion for improvement in the number of teachers who have enthusiastically and fully engaged with CNT funded training courses. Many newly qualified Palestinian teachers successfully completed an online month long Student Centred Teaching course earlier this year. Next term, 46 Palestinian and Jordanian teachers will participate in a two week online course on Creative Teaching and Activities. All the teachers and all their students will receive benefits from these courses.

Further extracts from Sami’s notes:

“Despite the very positive nature of my reflections, our long experience living in the Holy Land has taught us that there will be many problems and setbacks ahead, whether administrative, financial,political or social. As a matter of fact, the violence of the last few days is a vivid reminder of that. However, as people of hope and great faith, we have also learned to cope with these situations, continue to be positive and know that these trails are part of our Christian faith.

Successful CNT-funded Online Teacher Training

Online teacher training has been a tremendous success. It has been a lifeline for those isolated communities locked down, fearful, facing poverty with crippled economies, never daunted; although sadly damage to electricity supplies by the bombardments in Gaza halted the training for their teachers, training continued elsewhere in Palestine.

In January, when Principals and parents reported a transformation in those teachers who had taken earlier online courses, CNT was asked if it could fund further training. Lewis School even squeezed in a further course on Getting Creative with Resources specially for LPJ teachers.

Online Courses from March 2020 to June 2021

50 teachers 2 weeks Improving Pronunciation £120 per teacher
69 teachers 2 weeks Getting Creative with Resources £120 per teacher
40 teachers 4 weeks Student Centred Teaching £200 per teacher

159 courses were successfully undertaken by Jordanian and Palestinian teachers during lockdown.  A testament to their resilience and commitment.

CNT trustees believe that skilled teachers have the greatest impact in improving the life chances of the children of the Holy Land.

Further Literacy and Communication Resources

In 2021 CNT funded much needed library resources for Bir Zeit School and part funded with Ramallah school a mobile interactive whiteboard which the school reports is in constant use.

Below is a note of thanks from Rawand Musallam, the Principal of Bir Zeit, with some photographs of the new library area:

“Thank you for your generous contribution for our school library. It means so much to our students, who will be able to increase their desire to read more interesting books.”

Library area at Bir Zeit

Christians in the Holy Land are alive and active but their lives are very difficult. The Covid 19 pandemic has made their lives more difficult in every sense. After fifty years of occupation, their need for help is greater than ever. Bishops and delegations from across Europe, North America and South Africa (The Holy Land Coordination – HLC) make annual visits to the Holy Land. In January 2020, Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, the leader of the Group reminds us that:

“We must not ignore the voice of people in the Holy Land”

Every year we come to encounter and hear the people of the Holy Land. We are inspired by their enduring resilience and faith in a worsening situation. The local Catholic Bishops lamented the international community’s failure to help realise justice and peace here in the place of Christ’s birth. Our governments must do more to meet their responsibilities for upholding international law and protecting human dignity. 

The local Bishops also warned that people are facing further “evaporation of hope for a durable solution” and that living conditions becoming “more and more unbearable”.

“The Christian community has a vital role to play in reconciling the different nationalities, cultures and religions in this part of the world. It is a great challenge to face and sometimes it cannot face it because it does not have the resources, so you can understand why people leave”.

The final communique of the HLC 2020 can be read here.

Thousands of Christians have emigrated from the Holy Land because of continuing difficulties. The number of ‘living stones’, direct descendants of the earliest followers of Jesus, are falling to crisis levels. Through education, we hope to encourage Christian communities to play their part in the future development of their lands.

Your donations and prayers are a bridge, reminding these struggling Christian communities that they are not alone and offering solidarity. Your support gives them hope, the greatest of gifts.

Having visited most of the forty three LPJ schools, I have seen the tremendous commitment of their staff and the faith of their pupils.

Thank you to all those who have supported our cause by contributing financially, and to those who have contributed their valuable time, prayers, energy, skills and other resources. You have enabled CNT to help the schools of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ).

Margaret Waddingham, Chair