Christ Church, Jerusalem
The oldest Protestant community in the Middle East is renewing their vision for 2020
By Tuvia Pollack Nov 2, 2020
The Christ Church campus in the Old City of Jerusalem (Photo courtesy)
The CMJ, “Church’s Ministry among the Jewish people,” is an Anglican missionary society founded in 1809 by Evangelical Anglicans. Originally “The London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews,” their mission was to reach out to Jews with the gospel. They established a Jewish Messianic congregation in London as early as 1813 – the first recorded assembly of Jewish believers in Jesus in modern time.
The founders of the CMJ believed in the physical restoration of the Jewish people to the Holy Land long before Herzl and long before the term “Christian Zionism” even existed. The organization built the first Protestant Church in the Middle East, in Jerusalem in 1849, “Christ Church.”
Besides Christ Church, the CMJ also manages the Christ Church guest house, Shoresh Tours, the Anglican School in Jerusalem, Beit Immanuel guest house in Jaffa, and “Beit Bracha,” a guest house in the Galilee. KNI spoke to their current communications and development officer, Benjamin Pileggi, about their new vision to reconnect with Israeli society and local Messianic congregations.
“Some people see this as a new direction, but for us it’s really about going back to our roots,” he says. “The organization has gone back and forth over the history from being more focused on the Jewish people to having a more general Christian approach. For the past few years, we see an opportunity. Instead of selling assets and becoming smaller, we now have a vision of growth. We have more locals than ever who work for us, including decision makers in key positions. I think our biggest sin the past 40-50 years has been that we haven’t really told people about the amazing things we are doing.”