Minister from Holy Land to speak here

Published 10:47 pm Friday, November 14, 2014

The president of an interdenominational college in Bethlehem, Palestine, the site where Jesus was born, is visiting NorthGate Church in Salisbury this weekend.

Dr. Jack Sara will speak at 7 tonight and again during 10:30 a.m. worship Sunday. NorthGate is at 1255 West Ridge Road.

Sara brings a Christian perspective on the conflicts in the Middle East, which is particularly timely after the events in Gaza and across the region this past summer.

Sara spoke Thursday at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, addressing the question, “Is there reason for hope in the Middle East?” He also spoke this week at Church of the Apostles in Raleigh and Lake Forest Church in Huntersville.

Bethlehem Bible College began with nine students and international missionary teachers in 1979. Today, the college’s faculty and staff serve roughly 125 students, according to its website. The college’s more than 300 alumni serve the local Palestinian community, an area highly impacted by political unrest and conflict.

Sara is among those alumni. Born and raised in the Old City of Jerusalem, Sarah studied at Bethlehem Bible College after committing his life to Christ and his teachings. He soon became a member and leader in the ministry of the Jerusalem Alliance Church, and then went to the Philippines to earn his master’s of divinity degree at the Alliance Biblical Seminary.

He returned to Jerusalem and began ministering full time with his church and teaching part time at BBC. After serving and leading the church for 13 years as a senior pastor, he and other likeminded leaders saw the Alliance church become a church-planting movement and a catalyst church in reaching out to the Palestinian people and Arabs.

Sara holds a doctorate from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in missions and cross-cultural studies and travels around the globe teaching about such work in the Middle East.

He maintains an overseeing role with Evangelical Alliance Church. He has also worked extensively in the areas of peace and reconciliation.

It is from the very epicenter of Christianity that the Christian community is slowly decreasing. Before 1948 the Christian community was roughly 8 percent of the community in the Holy Land.

Today, the Christian population is a less than 1.5 percent of the Palestinian community, as many Christians are emigrating from the difficult political situation to better opportunities for education, work and their families abroad.

Bethlehem Bible College was founded in 1979 by local Arabs, to offer high-quality theological education and train Christian leaders for service in the local church and the local community. It aims to strengthen and revive the Christian church and support the local Christians in the Holy Land to combat this growing Christian exodus.

Bethlehem Bible College seeks to prepare Christian leaders to serve Arab churches and society.