Thank you for praying with us this week for Grace Al-Zoughbi from Palestine.
Established in 1988, the State of Palestine is recognized by 138 member states of the United Nations. Though its designated capital is Jerusalem, it currently operates out of Ramallah. Most of the land claimed by Palestine has remained under Israeli control since the Six-Day War in 1967. Approximately 5.2 million people currently live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 79% are Palestinian Arabs and 22% are Israeli Jews. Around 93% of Palestinians are Muslims (mostly Sunni), while Palestinian Christians represent 6% of the population, followed by smaller Druze and Samaritan minorities. In May, protests over the anticipated forced evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem erupted into eleven days of violence, leaving 260 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. Join us in praying for the peace of Christ to reign in the Holy Land.
Grace is pursuing a PhD in Theological Education at the London School of Theology (UK). A native of Bethlehem, Grace understands the challenges that Palestinian Christians face as ethnic and religious minorities. Few Palestinians have access to theological education, and Palestinian women encounter even more obstacles. Familiar with these barriers, Grace seeks to design culturally adept educational systems to support women biblical scholars and theologians throughout the Middle East. Her doctoral research focuses on how Arab Protestant women influence theological education.
In addition to her studies Grace leads the Biblical Studies Department and teaches at Bethlehem Bible College, where her husband Michael also serves as a chaplain. ScholarLeaders supports Grace’s doctoral research through the Persevere Scholarship.
Grace shares the following message:
My name is Grace Al-Zoughbi. I was born and raised in Bethlehem, Palestine. My husband Michael is from Egypt. Together, we are passionate about working actively in God’s Kingdom, and we pray for its flourishing in the Middle East and beyond.
On Theological Education
I have been involved in theological education for several years in Palestine. Seeing the gap for women, I felt called to pursue my PhD in this under-researched field. I am currently undertaking my research through the London School of Theology in the United Kingdom. My focus is on the role of Arab Protestant women in theological education in the Middle East.
Involvement in theological education presents a multiplicity of ways to engage, including through researching, writing, learning, teaching, and accreditation-related activities.
As I pursue my calling, I am mindful of how difficult and complex life has become for many in the Middle East to persevere in theological education. Yet, I am constantly aware of the hope that theological education offers for the Church and society, amid challenges related to forced migration, restricted mobility, high unemployment rates, and limited access to theological resources.
God calls us who believe to put our faith into action and not to rely solely on doctrinal accuracy. His word brings us encouragement to move into action and be humbly used by Him to bring about much-needed transformation in a context characterized by so much turmoil, bloodshed, conflict, and upheaval.
Please pray that the overall scenario will improve for many in Palestine and throughout the rest of the Middle East. Pray that justice and peace will prevail soon. Pray for the Church in the Middle East to be strengthened in these tumultuous times.
COVID has only made the circumstances worse, politically. Life has become more restricted for many, and people have to continually rely on the government’s goodwill for their day-to-day decisions. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the tourism sector of Palestine has been paralyzed, which has had massive negative consequences on the country’s economy and well-being.
Church gatherings have been majorly interrupted due to COVID restrictions, which have made it more challenging for people to grow in their communal spirituality. However, as the Apostle Peter encourages us: “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1: 19). May the light, carried forth by theological education, dispel any darkness in our lives.
Finally, I would appreciate prayers for the new academic year, for continued progress with my research, and for perseverance in these unpredictable times.