RAMALLAH, March 7 (JMCC) - Palestinians and internationals held a special worship service Sunday morning celebrating the centennial of a central Ramallah historic site.
The Ramallah Friend's Meetinghouse was first dedicated on March 6, 1910, said the great-great-great grandson of one of the site's original founders, Tim Hussey.
I believe they had a vision, he told meeting room of approximately 100 Palestinian Quakers and international visitors. Freedom of education for this community and the continuation of Quaker ideals.
The Quaker meetinghouse was founded alongside a major Quaker school that continues to educate Palestinians in Ramallah. Several of Ramallah's prominent families are known for their connection to the Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, a Protestant sect.
Ramallah mayor Janet Michael, the church's leader or clerk Jean Zaru and several visiting Quakers spoke at the special service, which included singing and the traditional Quaker silent worship.
From 2002, the meetinghouse sat in disuse, its roof ashambles, until money was raised by organizations in the United States for renovating the historic building. The meetinghouse is now the site of an international center that holds programs, as well as the weekly worship service.
The Ramallah meeting is the only regularly-held Quaker meeting in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. A series of events have been organized to celebrate the centennial.
Ramallah's Quakers are dwindling due to emigration to the West and assimilation to larger churches.
Christians make up less than three percent of the Palestinian population, and even towns like Ramallah, that were once historically Christian are now mostly Muslim.