Taybeh is a Palestinian village located in the centre of the occupied West Bank, 19 miles from Jerusalem. The village is the last exclusively Christian village in Palestine with strong ecumenical bonds between the 1,300 inhabitants of the Catholic, Orthodox and Greek-Melkite communities.
Life in Taybeh is very difficult, largely due to political instability, with high levels of unemployment and associated social challenges. The church is very much at the centre of the community with a strong pastoral role which extends beyond provision of schooling to care for the elderly.
In 2005 the parish was instrumental in founding the Beit Afram home for seniors which today provides long term residential care for its 25 residents, 23 women and 2 men, who would otherwise be left destitute.
Following a visit by our Pilgrims to Taybeh and Beit Afram it became apparent that the home could benefit from redecoration and that the kitchens in particular could be significantly improved. Working through the Pilgrimage People and the Latin Patriarchate Projects Office the Diocese of East Anglia made a grant to cover the cost of this refurbishment.
Through Beit Afram the church is able to offer care to the senior members of the community; however the youth in the village remain the major challenge. Although young people make up 70% of the community they remain marginalized. High unemployment and poor social provision encourage the brightest to seek a future elsewhere and condemn those that remain to a future without hope. In order to counter this Fr Johnny abu Khalil has plans to develop a youth centre in the village where teenagers and young families can meet, connect, and interact while also receiving training, counselling and social support. Through this work it is hoped that young people can be encouraged to build their futures in Taybeh so that its Christian heritage and culture can be maintained for future generations.
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