Ajith Fernando serves as Teaching Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka after being National Director for 35 years. These days his main responsibilities in YFC are counselling, mentoring and teaching staff and volunteers. With his wife Nelun he is active in a Methodist Church just outside Colombo, most of whose members are recent believers. more…
EUGENE E. CHO
Founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Brian and his wife, Peri, founded the church in 1981. Brian is also the author of several books, including, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Water to Wine, A Farewell To Mars, Beauty Will Save the World, and Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness. more…
A Messianic Jewish leader, conservative radio and TV host, author, and professor on the front lines of the culture wars in America and abroad. He is the President of Fire School of Ministry and is active in Jewish apologetics and debates with rabbis about Jesus the Messiah. He also holds a Ph.D in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University, and his most translated book is Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People.
RUTH PADILLA DEBORST
Ruth has been involved in leadership development and theological education in Latin America and beyond for several decades. A narrative theologian, speaker and teacher, she serves on the board of the Latin American Theological Fellowship and as coordinator of the Networking Team of INFEMIT (International Fellowship of Mission as Transformation). She lives in Costa Rica.
REV. DR. MUNTHER ISSAC
Palestinian Christian pastor, theologian, writer, speaker, blogger, and more importantly, a husband and a father. Munther pastors the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem. He teaches biblical studies at Bethlehem Bible College, and is also the director of the highly acclaimed and influential Christ at the Checkpoint conferences. He also serves now as the chairman of the board of the Christian Students in Palestinian Universities, a member of IFES.
Munther is passionate about issues related to Palestinian Christians and peacemaking. He speaks locally and internationally on issues related to the theology of the land, Palestinian Christians and Palestinian theology, holistic mission and reconciliation. He is the author of “From Land to Lands, from Eden to the Renewed Earth: A Christ-Centered Biblical Theology of the Promised Land”. He is also involved in many reconciliation and interfaith forums, and was the co-chair of the Lausanne Initiative on Reconciliation in Israel and Palestine.
Munther originally studied civil engineering in Birzeit University in Palestine. Realizing that numbers and construction sites are not his thing, he obtained a Master in Biblical Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary and then a PhD from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.
Munther is married to Rudaina – an architect, and together they have two boys: Karam (4) and Zaid (2).
Shireen Awwad Helal
Shireen Awwad Helal is the Dean of students and instructor at the Bethlehem Bible College where she teaches educational and leadership courses. She has a Masters degree obtained from Texas A&M University in Educational Administration. She joined Bethlehem Bible college in 2004. Then her second MBA from tel Aviv university. She is also involved in women ministry. Active leader for Musalaha for many years. Shireen Helal is a woman group leader and consultant for many years.
Sami Awad is the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust. At a young age, Sami was influenced by the teaching of his uncle Mubarak Awad, the Palestinian activist who promoted nonviolent resistance to the occupation during the first Intifada (popular uprising) and was arrested and deported by the Israeli government for his peaceful / nonviolent activities. Through working with Mubarak, Sami was introduced to great leaders and visionaries of the global nonviolence movement; from Jesus to Gandhi to King.
Sami has engaged himself locally and globally through promoting and engaging in nonviolence, healing and transformation work. Holy Land Trust is committed to supporting, training and developing NVC in the Holy Land.
Sami Awad holds an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Divinity from the Chicago Theological Seminary, a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the American University in Washington D.C. and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas.
Recorded Video Interview
- Chief Academic Officer, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (Lebanon) (abtslebanon.org)
- Director, Institute of Middle East Studies of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary
- Affiliate Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California (fuller.edu)
Director of Programs, Middle East, Centre on Religion and Global Affairs (www.crga.org.uk)
Martin Accad served as director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary from 2003 – 2016, having served as well as Academic Dean of ABTS for 5 years between 2004 and 2008. Recently, he was given the position of Chief Academic Officer of ABTS, overseeing all academic affairs of the seminary. Accad joined ABTS in 2001 after receiving his DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford for a dissertation on the interpretation of the Gospels by Muslims of the 8th to the 14th centuries. Before that, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon, and an MPhil in Eastern Christian Studies from the University of Oxford. Accad’s academic career has been influenced from the beginning by current affairs. He defended his doctoral dissertation on September 11, 2001 and found himself immediately thrust into the teaching of Islam for the sake of better Christian-Muslim understanding. In 2006, he was invited by Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena (CA) to take up the faculty position of Islamic Studies.
Accad has published numerous articles and book chapters in the fields of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations, including “Christian Attitudes toward Islam and Muslims: A Kerygmatic Approach,” “Mission at the Intersection of Religion and Empire,” “Loving Neighbor in Word and Deed: What Jesus Meant,” and the article on the “Trinity” in the IVP Dictionary of Mission Theology.
With a rich multicultural background in his own family, a Lebanese father and Swiss mother, Accad views himself as a bridge between cultures: an interpreter of Arab-Middle-Eastern complexities to a western audience, and of western complexities to an Arab audience. He also grew up through the Lebanese Civil War from 1975-1990 and understands the lethal potential of religions on human relationships. But conversely as well, he has experienced and witnessed the redemptive and transformational power of the teaching and model of Jesus of Nazareth both for individuals and communities. These are the areas he is interested in blogging about. Martin is married to Nadia, an active advocate for the poor and most marginalized by the mainstream in Lebanese society, and they have two amazing children, Mia and Alexandre, who have more cultural mix in their background than their own parents can keep count of.
Dr. Antonio Barro
Dr. Antonio C. Barro was born and raised in Brazil, where he studied to become a pastor. He also earned Masters and Doctoral Degrees in the United States of America.
Together with his wife (Priscila) they started and administrated the South American Theological Seminary (SATS) in Londrina, Brazil. They pioneered the Eight Presbyterian Church of Londrina where they served 12 years.
Antonio is currently the General Director of the SATS and a professor for Missiology, Leadership, and Homiletics for the past 24 years.
He is a member of the PRODOLA – Latin American Doctoral Program since 2000. He is a facilitator for Haggai International in Maui, USA.
Author of several books and articles in Portuguese, Spanish and English.
Antonio is an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. With his wife Priscila, they have two children and one grand-daughter.
Dr.Gary M. Burge
Gary M. Burge, Ph.D., teaches New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, MI). He studied at the Univ. of California, Fuller Seminary, and Aberdeen University (Scotland). Previously he served on the faculty of Wheaton College for 25 years. He specializes the New Testament but has also written extensively about the political and theological dimensions of the conflicts in Israel/Palestine. His first book, Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians are Not Being Told about Israel and the Palestinians (now in a second edition) and was followed by Jesus and the Land. The New Testament Challenge to Holy Land Theology. Gary is a frequent speaker at churches and conferences throughout the United States. He also serves on the planning team for the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences.
Rev. Professor Yohanna Katanacho
Rev. Yohanna Katanacho is currently the academic dean at Nazareth Evangelical College and a full professor at Bethlehem Bible College. He taught courses at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (USA), and the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (Egypt). He is a Palestinian Israeli Evangelical who studied at Bethlehem University (B.Sc.), Wheaton College (M.A.) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M. Div.; Ph.D.). He is the author of, or contributor to, dozens of books in English and Arabic including “The Land of Christ: A Palestinian Cry”, “Praying through the Psalms”. Dr. Katanacho is an Old Testament editor for Arabic Contemporary Commentary as well as Asia Bible Commentary. He is also one of the authors of the Palestinian Kairos Document. His full bibliography is available on katanacho.com. Rev. Katanacho is married to Dina, the director of the Arab Israeli Bible Society, and they have three boys: Immanuel, Jonathan, and Chris.
Joseph Cumming is Pastor of the International Church at Yale University, and from this base at Yale he works with Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders and scholars around the world to promote mutual understanding and reconciliation among the Abrahamic faith communities. He travels regularly to the Middle East, Africa, Asiaand elsewhere to meet with religious leaders, to speak at conferences and to teach. He has been interviewed many times on Al-Jazeera (in Arabic), in leading media outlets in North America, and in other media outlets in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.
Prof. Salim J. Munayer
Prof. Salim J. Munayer is executive director and founder of Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation, which has been bringing Israelis and Palestinian together since 1990 and creating a forum for reconciliation. Salim is a Palestinian-Israeli born in Lod as one of six children and received his BA from Tel Aviv University in History and Geography, his MA from Fuller Theological Seminary, graduate studies in New Testament from Pepperdine University and his Ph.D. from the Oxford Center of Mission Studies in the UK. His doctoral dissertation was written on “The Ethnic Identity of Palestinian Arab Christian Adolescents in Israel.” He has published several books on Reconciliation, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, his most recent work is Through My Enemy’s Eyes, Envisioning Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine, co-authored with Lisa Loden. Salim served as academic dean of the Bethlehem Bible College from 1989 to 2008 and is a professor at the college. He is also an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. Salim is married to Kay, founder of the Daylight Project, a charity that advocates for social justice among the marginalized in Palestinian and Israeli society. She is also a contributing writer on Another’s Voice, a blog by women providing hopeful perspectives in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Together they have four adult sons, Jack, Daniel, John, and Sam.
Rev. Alex Awad
Rev. Dr. Alex Awad was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduation from St George’s High School, he studied in Europe and then moved to the USA. He finished a BA degree at Lee University and an MA in Education (1976) at North Georgia University. He received an MA in Missions and Evangelism (1989) from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
For the last 26 years Rev. Awad with his wife Brenda served as missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Israel/Palestine. Until recently he was the pastor of an international church in East Jerusalem and taught courses at Bethlehem Bible College where he served as faculty member, Dean of Students and board member. In June 2015, Rev. Awad was awarded an honorary doctorate at Bethlehem Bible College’s annual commencement.
Rev. Awad wrote, Through the Eyes of the Victims and Palestinian Memories; both books reveal the realities of life under Israeli military occupation. Rev. Awad wrote numerous articles that call for justice for both Palestinians and Israelis.
Until his retirement in June 2015, Rev. Awad directed the Shepherd Society which is the humanitarian arm of Bethlehem Bible College. Many needy Palestinians seek the help of the Shepherd Society in meeting emergency needs such as food, medicine and employment.
Rev. Awad is married to Brenda and they live in Eugene, Oregon. They have three children and two grandchildren.