This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)
Living in the location of God’s incarnation, contextual and incarnational theology is an inseparable part of the lives of Christians in Bethlehem. Shaped by this, the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem has long sought to empower local expressions of the gospel – in theology, in culture, in community, and in education.
The congregation at Christmas Lutheran is very active not only within the church but throughout the surrounding community. Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac began serving as pastor of Christmas Lutheran on June 4, 2017.
Worship at Christmas Lutheran Church
There has been a continuous worship life in the sanctuary of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem since 1893. Each Sunday worshippers from Bethlehem and around the world gather for worship in the sanctuary.
As visiting worshippers gaze at the stained glass windows present throughout the sanctuary, they are likely unaware of how lucky they are to see them all intact. In fact, the stained glass windows, from the Emperor Stained Glass Factory in Germany, are the only windows made by this factory in this style to survive in total.
It is even more amazing that these windows have all remained intact, due to the fact that the church suffered damage in both 1967 and in 2002. In 1967 the roof and ceiling of the sanctuary were damaged by a bomb. Then again, in 2002, the church was in the middle of fierce Israeli shooting and bombing. While under curfew, Bethlehemites could hear glass breaking everywhere. Pastor Raheb, who lives with his family in the parsonage on the church compound, also heard glass breaking and feared it was the stained glass windows. No one could get out to check on the sanctuary until a few days later. When Pastor Raheb was finally able to go into the church, he was astounded and grateful to see that all the windows remained unbroke and largely intact. There is one small hole in the red robe of a person in the left chapel windows, which is hardly noticeable, but serves as a reminder of the frightening chaos and the damaging attacks in 2002.
For more information on the architecture, construction, windows, organ, or bells, we invite you to visit our History section.
Congregational life at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem is active throughout the weeks and seasons of the Church Year. Programs and Gatherings include Sunday School and Youth Programs, Bible Studies and Christian Education, Social Gatherings, Special Events, and Retreats. Each year a new theme is chosen by the Church Elders, and a plan for the year is formed to encompass all members.
Pastor Isaac, Church Elders, and the Women’s Committee are all active in visiting congregational members in their homes and growing in relationship with one another.
Pride in Education for Bethlehem
Meaning ‘the house of the Word’ in Arabic, Dar al-Kalima takes its name from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, with reference to the Word (logos)–the Word of God at work in shaping the world, who is enfleshed in humanity in Jesus Christ. “‘The Word’, not ‘the words,’” as Pastor Raheb says, “since our people are fed up with rhetoric and speeches.” but eagerly looking for the Word of God.
The School adopts a modern non-traditional approach to learning and education. It does not believe in the “talk and chalk “approach, or the conventional system of grading, which does not provide a true and effective evaluation of the child. Instead, Dar Al-kalima School works diligently through various means, to provide the child with an opportunity to grasp and digest the material and apply the knowledge gained to real life situations, in order to build a comprehensive modern Palestinian society as well as a culture based on solid education fortified by critical and creative thinking.
The School is open to all children, regardless of sex, color, creed, religion and social standing. Inclusive education is provided to all children by meeting the individual and/or special needs of each.
This school calls for changes in various educational aspects especially in alternative evaluation strategies and doing its best to introduce modern teaching methods.
Dar Al-Kalima endeavors to remain open to the outside world through modern communication channels. Fruitful cooperation among Palestinians and the outside world, as well as participating in peace and democracy related programs and projects are a priority.
The school believes in peaceful coexistence among all nations of the world, including harmony and tolerance among Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, It works effectively to bring out and reinforce these concepts among the students through dialogue, lectures, morning prayers, school programs and events. Through the different programs, it provides the school seeks to enhance these values in its students so that they become better citizens of Palestine and the world
Sunday: 10:30 a.m.