Bethlehem Today: Work, Walls, and Wonder

Saturday, March 26, 2011   2:00 PM
The First Presbyterian Church: 512 7th Street, Columbus, Indiana


Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
Pastor, Author, Theologian
“Bethlehem Today–Work, Walls and Wonder”

This year’s distinguished speaker is Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and president of the Diyar Consortium.  He was born in Bethlehem and grew up there.  He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology in Germany and then returned to Bethlehem to become pastor of his home church.

Dr. Mitri Raheb

Many here in the US are unaware that the city of Bethlehem, rich in biblical history, is surrounded by a 27-foot wall with 3 guarded checkpoints. The people living there are severely restricted: they cannot get medical help in nearby cities, or visit family or tend their olive trees without permits allowing them through a checkpoint.

Mitri has led his 225-member congregation to find ways to serve the social needs of this isolated people. Under the umbrella of the International Center of Bethlehem, they built Dar al-Kalima, a K-12 school educating both Muslim and Christian boys and girls.  They added a health and wellness center, which provides after-school activities for children, including the area’s only swimming pool, an audiology clinic, and psychotherapy services.  Then they developed a program to support senior citizens, and most recently completed Dar al-Kalima College with diploma programs in documentary film making and glass and ceramic art.  In 2007 they added degrees in contemporary fine arts, tourism studies, and multimedia. All of this has happened because of the vision, faith, dedication, and work of Mitri Raheb.

Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb heads the work of the International Center of Bethlehem. The Center is committed to education, heath care, intercultural dialog, building a civil society. This work began in 1994 as a work of Christmas Lutheran Church. The Presbytery of Ohio Valley has partnered with this work since 2006, offering education, travel opportunities, providing used hearing aids, providing scholarships and funds for the Dar al-Kalima School and College, supporting Churches for Middle East Peace and daily prayer for this work.

Mitri  is the author  of 8 books and numerous article.  His books, including “I Am a Palestinian Christian” have been translated into 10 languages. For more information about Mitri, you can find him on Wikipedia.

For more information about the Laws Lecture, please contact Jo Lucas, 812-342-4850,

All are welcome to this free event. A reception and response time will follow this one-hour lecture.

Event Schedule:
Saturday, March 26, 2011
2:00 p.m. Laws Peacemaking Lecture, Bethlehem Today-Work, Walls and Wonder
3:00 p.m. Reception and Response

Sunday, March 27, 2011
9:30 a.m. Worship and Sermon

This event is co-sponsored by First Presbyterian Church, Interfaith Forum Columbus and Presbytery of Ohio Valley Mission Partnership