Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Presbyterian Church has been involved in mission efforts in the Middle East for nearly two centuries. The denomination’s long-standing witness in Israel and Palestine has spanned a range of efforts. Presbyterian World Mission supports mission co-workers who work with partner churches and contributes to refugee relief and resettlement. Our work and that of our partners combats hunger and poverty and supports the ministries of local churches. We also sponsor travel-study seminars that promote education, health and leadership development and offer vocational training programs and self-development projects. Our work supports peace, justice and human rights movements and engages in constituency education. We also mobilize advocates to influence public policy.
Since 1948, Presbyterian General Assemblies have repeatedly addressed the Middle East and particularly Israel and Palestine. The Presbyterian position has consistently been to affirm the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state within secure, internationally recognized borders and the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, including the right to the establishment of a neighboring independent, sovereign state toward the end of establishing a just and durable peace.
Rev. Kate Taber
Associate for Ecumenical Partnerships in Israel and Palestine since 2014 . Serving at the invitation of Palestinian churches in Bethlehem and elsewhere in the Holy Land
E200516 – Facilitator for Peacemaking and Mission Partnerships
As a mission specialist, Kate Taber serves on the outreach ministry team of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. She helps build relationships between Presbyterians in the U.S. and church partners in Israel-Palestine, assists U.S. Presbyterians visiting the Holy Land, and identifies opportunities for their Christian witness. Home presbytery: Greater Atlanta
About Kate Taber and her ministry
“I want to help U.S. Presbyterians know and engage with Palestinian Christians: their lives, their ministries, their joys, and their struggles,” Kate says. “I hope our denomination might be a faithful Christian witness in and about the Holy Land.”
Kate is working amid a longstanding political conflict that frequently takes center stage on the world scene. She has come to Israel-Palestine with the benefit of having lived there previously. She spent several months in the region on a Parish Pulpit Fellowship, an award given by Princeton Theological Seminary.
Kate anticipates that maintaining hope “and a vision of God’s kingdom” will not be without challenges. Yet she feels “it’s a joy to partner with the people of Christmas Lutheran Church and all our ecumenical partners there who steadfastly labor in hope for justice and peace.”
As Kate approaches her task of connecting U.S. Presbyterians and Palestinian Christians, she is convinced of the interconnectedness of the Church of Jesus Christ and the universality of God’s love. “When we open ourselves to other cultures, languages, and worship traditions, we see aspects of God that we would never have known otherwise,” she says. “We are invited into God’s work, to partner with and be in communion with children of God everywhere.”
Building relationships with other Christians, she emphasizes, is a heartfelt need of Christians living in the Holy Land. “The Christians of Palestine and Israel especially need and ask for this communion and partnership as they struggle with daily life in a conflict zone, and I feel called to connect U.S. Presbyterians with them and their stories.”
Despite the trauma caused by the longstanding conflict and military occupation, Kate sees much splendor in Israel-Palestine. “The land is beautiful, the food is delicious, the culture is rich, and the people are the most welcoming I have ever met,” she explains. She also is moved by the deep love the region’s people have for their land and culture. “I am eager to continue to watch and learn from this love.”
Kate finds hope in the promise of Isaiah 65:19: “I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.” This scripture, she says, reminds her of God’s care for the land where she is serving and that the current situation is not what God desires. “God intends there to be—as God does for all places—peace, joy, hope, and love. The work to recreate it in this way is ultimately God’s work.”
Prior to entering mission service Kate was a resident pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, serving in a Lilly Foundation–funded residency program for new ministers. She holds a B.A. degree from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and an M.Div. degree from Princeton Seminary. She is a member of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery.
Kate is accompanied in Israel-Palestine by her husband, Nathan Stock.
Read Kate’s letters and subscribe:
H003213 – Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, Gaza/Palestine
Atfaluna is an Arabic word meaning “our children.” Most children coming to Atfaluna are from families living far below the poverty line. Atfaluna responds to the needs of deaf children in Gaza through deaf education, audiology, speech therapy, income generating activities for the deaf, vocational training and community training and awareness programs.
E052802 – Israel Palestine Mission Network
The Israel Palestine Mission Network, in solidarity with churches and our other partners in Israel and Palestine, covenants to engage, consolidate, nourish and channel the energy in the Presbyterian Church (USA) toward the goal of a just peace in Israel and Palestine by facilitating education, promoting partnerships and coordinating advocacy.
E052804 – The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is a non-political, non-profit American relief group that was established in 1991 to address the extraordinary medical and humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian youth in the Middle East. Since then, it has expanded in order to help suffering children from other Middle Eastern countries. PCRF helps to locate cost-free medical care and treatment for children who are unable to obtain the necessary and specialized treatment in their home country.
In Iraq, for example, the PCRF works with local NGO’s, US military personnel and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, to identify children who were either injured in the current conflict, or who were born with medical disorders that cannot be treated in country. By providing children injured in war, or in need of specialized medical care that they would otherwise not receive, PCRF can help to repair some of the suffering and hardship that these children face on a daily basis.
E051739 – Bright Stars
Children in Palestine constitute over 50% of the Palestinian population. They have increasingly become children at risk. In an environment of increased violence, the project focuses on expressing the emotions, fears, thoughts and visions of the young people with a creative, holistic approach and a large variety of techniques to motivate and stretch their imaginations and possibilities. The children gather in different art, music, sports, communication and environmental clubs according to their talents and gifts. Our hope is that, during the process, they discover themselves as Bright Stars in art, music, sports, communication and environment. Children participating in this program are between the ages of 6-16. They come from different parts of the Bethlehem district and are both boys and girls.
E052805 – Affordable Housing For Palestinians
Funds given through this ECO account will be channeled to four housing projects undertaken by partner churches in Palestine. (1) The St. Andrews Housing Society is sponsored by St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Ramallah. Construction of the exterior and interior partitions of the facility is complete. An additional $66,667, to be matched on a 2-for-1 basis by gifts from the Arab bank, is needed to complete the project. (2) The Taybeh Orthodox Housing Project is constructing housing for Orthodox Christian Palestinian families in Taybeh, a Christian village northeast of Ramallah. $48,000 is needed to complete the construction of the skeletons of 15 duplexes (30 homes) and a further $1.4 million for the interior work on these homes. (3) The Lutheran World Federation owns land on the Mount of Olives and is seeking to raise at least $2 million from churches in the United States for home construction on that land. Christian tenants will rent these apartments at subsidized rates. (4) The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation has a program aimed at the repair and rehabilitation of deteriorating homes owned and occupied by Christian families in older sections of Bethlehem and its environs. Seven percent of any gifts to this project will cover HCEF’s overhead costs. In 2006, 91 homes were rehabilitated, at an average cost of just under $4,000. All four of these opportunities were identified in response to Commissioner’s Resolution 04-19 passed at the 216th General Assembly (2004) and affirmed by subsequent actions of the PMA. Donors may designate which of the three projects their gifts will support.
Give to any of these missions online: