On Oct 22, 2022 the Nazareth Trust held a prayer and thanksgiving service at the Nazareth Hospital Chapel that was organized by the Pastoral Care Team at the Nazareth Hospital.
People from all over the world attended, including staff from Nazareth, the Nazareth Trust staff and Board members, Nazareth Challenge participants, Nazareth Project staff and tour members, volunteers and church leaders from the Nazareth region and abroad.
Richard Mayhew, CEO, opened the service: “Thanks to the Pastoral Care Team, who have organized this. And special thanks to Pastor Suheil, who’s been a chaplain here for many many years, and I have huge respect for how he has ministered and prayed for the people over the years. Enjoy, and God bless you!”
The General Secretary of Evangelical Alliance Israel (EAI) Harry Tees called the group to worship with Psalm 95. “It’s such a privilege to be here. We’ve seen what the Lord has done for 160 years in this hospital. It’s an amazing testimony.” – he stated.
Pastor Shaun Newton, Minister at Hetton-le-Hole Independent Methodist Church (England) and former Nazareth Trust’s staff, also said a prayer: “Oh God, Heavenly Father, we come before You to give You joy because You are the rock of our salvation. We come before You with thanksgiving for Your hand of blessing on this place, for 161 years. We thank You that Dr Vartan chose this place to start this ministry. And we are humbled to be in the presence of people such as Dr Bob Martin and Prof Fahed Hakim. We recognise Your faithfulness for 161 years. We recognise 161 years of continuous challenges. The city on the hill cannot be hidden.”
Pastor Nizar Shaneen, Founder and Host of Light for All Nations Canada reminded us of Jesus’ ministry of love: “Jesus was on a mission, and it was a mission of love. Jesus was not pressured by the political situation or the social differences in his time. He had a priority to reach and touch the heart of the Samaritan woman. I encourage you to put the Nazareth Hospital in your daily prayers, and I believe we shall see a breakthrough. Through the breakthrough, we can see a revival in this land. Please pray for everyone at the Hospital, doctors, nurses, the leaders, etc. We pray we can make a difference in this society in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Frank Kantor, Spiritual Director at the Nazareth Trust, introduced a round of prayers: “We want to bring the needs of the world and Nazareth to the Lord we so love. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses in this place, people who have served the Lord here: starting with Dr Vartan, then Dr Nancy Martin, Dr Runa Mackay, and many others. We give thanks to God for His faithfulness.” Afterwards, several people came forward to say their prayer, either in English or Arabic, including former Hospital Directors Dr Nakhle Bishara and Dr Bob Martin, Judith Hill (Vice Chair of the Nazareth Trust’s Board), Rev Nael Abu Rahmoun (Anglican Vicar of Nazareth), Danny Kopp (EAI Chair), David Serner (Lutheran pastor) and Randa Elias (Quality Manager at the Nazareth Hospital).
The Communion service was led by Bishop Sarah Mullally (Anglican Bishop of London) and Pastor Suheil Bathish. Bishop Sarah reminded us of Peter feeling unworthy of Jesus washing his feet. “We are called to wash people’s feet. Not just those who are clean and manicured. But to wash the feet of those who are dirty, of those who are sweaty, of those that no one else wants to touch or see. And just as Jesus did, we are also called to wash the feet of the one who made betrayals. We are called to demonstrate the love that Christ demonstrated.” – she said.
Rev Nael Abu Rahmoun delivered the closing comments and prayer: “Frank mentioned that Dr Vartan was invited from Beirut, Lebanon to come to Nazareth. It reminded me of the important link between the Hospital and the Church. Teaching and healing are the two most important points of Christ’s mission. When the missionaries arrived in Nazareth, they established a Hospital, a school and in 1871, a church. Lord, we give thanks for the ministry of the Nazareth Trust, for all its institutions. We give thanks to all those who serve in Nazareth. We ask for your blessing. We pray that the Hospital continues to serve in the name of Jesus.”