Radio Vaticano: Friends of the Holy Land
Friends of the Holy Land is a small but growing ecumenical charity which provides very practical and personal support to Christians in Jerusalem and elsewhere around Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Set up in 2009, the charity funds many small scale projects but also serves as an important link between parishes in the UK and Churches in the Holy Land itself, an important source of moral support for Christian communities surrounded by their majority Jewish or Muslim neighbours.
Projects currently being supported by Friends of the Holy Land include hiring local craftsmen to renovate the dilapidated homes of vulnerable people, and establishing and running a day care centre for elderly widows in Bethlehem. Future projects will include supporting new small businesses to provide employment opportunities in areas such as olive wood carvings, and the production of soap and wax candles.
Dr Michael Whelan is founder and national UK chairman of Friends of the Holy Land. He also serves on the general council of another charitable organization, the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre that dates back centuries to the days of the crusades, the original article is located here first broadcasted on 15/07/2011.
Philippa Hitchen talks to Dr Whelan to find out more about the history of this ancient order and the focus of these fund raising organisations today:
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