'From Bethlehem with love', a Christmas appeal, has been launched to help bring a troupe of 16 talented young Christian actors and dancers from Bethlehem to Yorkshire next June.
Baqoun, a group of Palestinian Christians aged 16 to 24, have been invited to the diocese for a 12 day visit to bring a taste of Bethlehem and the Holy Land to churches and schools. They will be leading workshops and cultural evenings which aim to spread understanding of the challenges facing Christians in Palestine and the Middle East while offering a series of exciting celebration events which will include energetic dance and drama, food, culture and conversation.
The ambitious itinerary from 16-27 June includes performances and cultural evenings at venues including Wakefield and Bradford Cathedrals, Scargill House in the Yorkshire Dales, together with churches in Leeds, Harrogate, Beverley and London as well as church schools.
Leader of the planning group, Canon Gordon Dey, said the aim is “to offer events celebrating the vibrant riches of Palestinian Christian culture, food and life at which the young people can tell their stories, and entertain us with their energetic and colourful dance.”
Area Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, says, “The situation for Christians in Bethlehem is very hard. Their numbers have decreased substantially in the past few years. This trip will be an opportunity for us to support our brothers and sisters in Palestine and show that we care about them and the difficult situation which they live with everyday.”
The Christmas Appeal
Launching ‘From Bethlehem with Love’, Gordon said, “Bringing a group of 16-17 young people over from the Holy Land for almost two weeks is a major undertaking. We will need to find something in the region of £25,000 for this project.
“This will cover flights, visas, insurance, accommodation and other associated costs. We hope that ticket sales will generate about £11,000, meaning that we will need to find a further £14,000. It would be great if churches felt they could support our appeal, perhaps using part of their Christmas collection as we focus on events in Bethlehem two thousand years ago to help bring these Christian young people on a journey from Bethlehem to Yorkshire in 2016.”
A special website, www.baqoun.org, with pictures and videos of Baqoun in performance, gives full details of the proposed tour, including details of how to give to the appeal
In addition to financial support, the planning group would be very pleased to hear from anyone who could offer accommodation to two of the young people - more details are on the website. It is hoped this could be in the Bradford area to enable the group to easily gather for travel each day.
For more information, pictures and videos of Baquoun in action, and details of how to give to the appeal go to www.baqoun.org