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Hallelujah Moment from Palestine: The Bee Hive Project

by Janet Lahr Lewis

September 18, 2009

For almost a year, I have been working on a community development project with a committee in the village of Wadi Foquin outside Bethlehem and a group from the Buena Vista United Methodist Church (BVUMC) in Alameda, California. “The Bee Hive Project” will purchase beehives, train local people as beekeepers, and sell honey so that needy families in Wadi Foquin will have incomes.

Buena Vista Church is helping to purchase the hives. At the end of August, the first gift arrived, enough to buy five beehives.

The project brings hope to the local people and encourages poor Palestinian families to stay in their homes rather than emigrate. It will also create a funnel for information about the illegal occupation of the area by Israeli forces, the displacement of Palestinians, the violations of international law, and Israeli noncompliance with UN resolutions. Perhaps it will generate interest in the region and, in time, enable advocacy which would not otherwise take place.

Recently Buena Vista Church, a predominantly Asian-American congregation, held a project kick-off on “Bee Hive Sunday.” Worship included a slide show and a prayer ritual in which messages for the people of Wadi Foquin were written on origami bees. There was a special offering and an after-worship lunch with questions and answers about the mission partnership.

All generations in the Buena Vista congregation are learning to be advocates for peace with justice, not only in Palestine and Israel but in other areas of the world. The church will send a group in January 2010 to spend a significant amount of time in Wadi Foquin, meeting the people and learning about the village, the culture, and the conflict, while building lasting relationships.

The Beehive Project is an example of how a congregation can advocate for justice while helping to bring hope and encouragement to those who live under occupation.

Ways to Support this Ministry

You can share gifts through The Advance or by designated giving through your local church:

#14183Z—Janet Lahr Lewis Advance, Middle East, Israel/Palestine

Hallelujah Moments
Celebrations of United Methodist mission from
the Mission Education program area of the
General Board of Global Ministries

Worship Bridge

"Shalom" (United Methodist Hymnal # 667) or "Shalom chaverim" (Global Praise 1, #23) is set to a haunting melody from Israel that many in your congregation will recognize. You will find this song in most hymnals set to a wide variety of English translations. Sung in Hebrew or English, it is a blessing and a prayer for peace. Singing it in Hebrew enables your community to sing with Christians and Jewish communities around the world. A pronunciation guide is provided in Global Praise 1 to help you teach the Hebrew text.

Sing "Shalom chaverim" at the close of a worship service, church meeting, or any gathering within your community. Consider intentionally using this as the closing to every worship service for several weeks until the majority of the congregation has it memorized. They will easily be able to sing it as a four-part canon. Consider asking four different persons to move to "assigned" places to help lead a section the first time you sing this as a round. Create a simple ostinato on D with hand bells, hand chimes, or Orff instruments emphasizing beats one and three. You can develop an exciting recessional by asking the hand bell and hand chime players to walk around the space as they play.

Global Praise 1 and all Global Praise resources are available from Cokesbury Music Service 1-877-877-8764 or email, from Cokesbury 1-800-672-1789 or, or your local music dealer.

Bulletin inserts are available in the following formats:

Portable Document Format Color (PDF, 219 KB) or Portable Document Format Black and White (PDF, 78 KB)

Word Document Format Color (Word, 414 KB) or Word Document Format Black and White (Word, 414 KB)

Your local church may choose to enter into a multi-year Covenant Relationship with Janet Lahr Lewis,  or other United Methodist missionaries, for ongoing support of their work. For further information, please contact:

The Advance
General Board of Global Ministries
475 Riverside Dr, #350
New York, NY 10115
Phone: 212-870-3718
Fax: 212-870-3775



You can make gifts to support the mission work of Janet Lahr Lewis, by making a donation through The Advance. The Advance is an accountable, designated giving arm of The United Methodist Church that ensures 100% of each gift reaches its intended mission or ministry.

Make a secure gift online: Visit Global Ministries Online Giving

Checks may be written to 'Advance GCFA' and placed in collection plates at United Methodist churches, or mailed directly to:

Advance GCFA,
P.O. Box 9068, GPO,
New York, NY 10087-9068.

Credit card donations may be made by calling
(888) 252-6174.

Please note on your check the name and The Advance Number of the missionary you are supporting:

Janet Lahr Lewis, Advance Number: 14183z
>> Biography

See Also...
Topic: Agriculture Children Global connections Peace Poverty Women Youth Partners/partnerships Focus on Congregational Development
Geographic Region: IsraelPalestine
Source: Mission Education

arrow icon. View Listing of Missionaries Currently Working in: Israel    Palestine |   

Date posted: Sep 18, 2009