KHS – LIEUTENANCY OF ENGLAND & WALES
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The Lieutenancy was honoured by the presence of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Grand Prior of the Order, who celebrated the Investiture Mass at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 23 May. On Friday 22 May, prior to the pre-investiture Vigil, an informal meeting was held with senior representatives of three charities active in the Holy Land. The purpose was to provide His Beatitude with an up-to-date overview of their activities and the ways in which they complemented the Order’s support of the Latin Patriarchate.
His Beatitude was accompanied by Canon Michael McDonagh and the meeting was chaired by Mary Maxwell DSG DC*HS, the then Secretary of our Lieutenancy.
Those invited to summarise the aims and activities of their organisations were:
- James (Jim) Quinn KSG, KGCHS
Chairman, Friends of the Holy Land (FHL)
- Bernard Whyte KCHS
Chairman, Cambridge Nazareth Trust (CNT)
- Margaret Waddingham DC*HS
The KHS English Project
- Neville Kyrke-Smith
National Director, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)
Jim Quinn reminded His Beatitude that FHL was launched by him (HB) in Birmingham and Liverpool in 2009. In the year to March 2015, it had raised some £600,000 of which some £400,000 had been distributed with just 15% going to administration costs. Whilst KHS funding through the Latin Patriarchate is largely applied to structural Christian community projects, FHL has evolved into an ecumenical charity providing direct financial support to special care situations. For example, £128,000 had gone to ninety families for whom this funding represented the only income and £50,000 had been deployed to needy communities, mostly in Gaza. As further examples, funds go to subsidise the costs of schools such as those operated by the Rosary Sisters, students’ fees, the provision of medicines and St Martha’s House in Bethlehem. During the current year, FHL is supporting the launch of a dental screening programme in schools as well as a Young Christian Workers initiative intended to enable youngsters in the Jerusalem and Bethlehem areas to link up. Offices and Committees have been established in Kenilworth and Bethlehem and sub groups are being set up in the Holy Land.
His Beatitude expressed his thanks for the work of FHL and was pleased to recall that he had been involved with the organisation since its inception. He suggested to Jim Quinn that, given the skills, knowledge and experience within the LPJ, it would be sensible to channel FHL projects through the LPJ. Jim pointed out that the ecumenical nature of FHL would make it necessary to involve St George’s (the Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem) and it was agreed that such an initiative by FHL could provide a great opportunity for partnership between the LPJ and St George’s. Jim undertook to consult with the Patriarch and Bishop Suheil Dawani (Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem) on the subject over the coming months.
His Beatitude with Jim Quinn
Bernard Whyte informed His Beatitude that CNT had raised some £600,000 since its inception in 1984. It was founded as a trust by members of the KHS and others to send directly to the Latin Patriarchate funds that are destined to support the education of children under 25 years of age. Essentially, funding helps families to pay school fees, without which there can be neither teachers nor computing equipment. CNT has also supported a number of building projects such as the refurbishment of the schools at Hashimi, Zerka North and Beit Sahour, the Summer Camps and The English Project.
Less than 6% of its contributions go to expenses.
Margaret Waddingham, representing KHS E&W reported to the Patriarch on the five year teacher training project she had led. This unique project was the first time KHS had invested in people rather than in bricks and mortar. It came about following a request made in Amman in 2010 by Fr Imad Twal, then Director of Education for LPJ schools in Jordan, and Dr Hanan Madanat, then Training Co-ordinator of those schools, for help with the training of teachers of English in their schools. The request was made at a meeting with Tony Ockenden and Margaret Waddingham from the Lieutenancy. In March 2011, twenty teachers from Jordan and Israel began training online with tutors from Eckersley College. This was followed in August 2011 by a visit from some of the UK “Flying Squad” tutors to Amman for a week of seminars and workshops. Further online training followed, with the Flying Squad tutors returning to Amman in March 2012. These workshops lasted for two days and the three tutors then visited each teacher in his or her school to carry out observations and provide feedback. A similar online training programme in Palestine had been completed in 2014. Not being lectured to but receiving support and advice through seminars and workshops has shown itself to be a highly effective and motivational method of training and is a deeply innovative approach to teaching in the Holy Land. By March 2012, ninety teachers had been through the programme and, teachers in Jordan are now enthusiastically training other teachers. The Patriarch was presented with the April 2015 edition of Networking Catholic Education Today, which is distributed to all Catholic Schools and contains an article on The English Project. The article continues in the May issue.
Neville Kyrke-Smith then spoke about Aid to the Church in Need, an international charity at work in more than 130 countries helping Christians who are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is in involved in some 5,000 projects each year, nurturing Christian faith through, for example, the encouragement of prayer, the building of churches and distribution of a children’s bible. ACN UK alone sent £1.5 million to the Middle East in 2014, much of it to fund outreach to migrant communities such as Syrian refugees and to Christian families in Iraq. By encouraging prayer, ACN seeks to awaken consciousness of what it means to be a Christian in today’s Middle East through youth initiatives such as summer camps and media. Neville asked for more requests for aid to be forthcoming from the Holy Land.
His Beatitude thanked the participants for their presentations, but above all, for the support their organisations were providing in the Holy Land. He had visited all the parishes over a three year period and was struck by the discovery that school and church playgrounds were the only places where the young could feel safe, often remaining there until late at night, emphasising the great importance of pastoral activity to complement the religious and academic initiatives.