Syrian Orthodox Christian School (SOCS) in Bethlehem Report 2015.
The SOCS known locally as the Mar Ephraim School is situated in the Beit Jala district of Bethlehem and opened in 2003 to provide education for children of the Syrian Orthodox Community, a minority Christian community living in and around Bethlehem. The “City of David” lies within the Palestinian Authority some 8 miles south of Jerusalem.
Opening in September 2003 with just 15 Kindergarten aged children, the school is now in its 12th year and with 500 children on roll, has seen those 15 children, now aged 15/16 flourish to Grade 10. Accommodation is very “tight” and plans to build further facilities on land close to the school are nearing fruition. The foundation stone is due to be laid in early 2016.
Following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000, the SOCS Support Group was established to help the Syrian Community realise their dream of a school for their children. The Support Group represents churches across the Coventry Diocese and its aims are to raise awareness of and pray for the school and the Syrian Orthodox Community and to raise funds.
During 2015 the Support Group authorised the transfer of £12500 to the school, this being made up of £5000 for teaching equipment and resources, £5000 towards the fees for the poorer families for the 2015/16 school year and £2500 to help with the furnishings of the new facilities. This brings the total support for the school since it opened to over £140000.
St Nicholas Church has once again been most generous both in its giving and its prayers for the school. During 2015 St Nicholas donated almost £2000 to the SOCS Support Fund (overseen by the Diocesan Board of Finance), of which £800 plus Gift Aid was from the “Little Socks Reunions” . Thank you so much for your continued support.
Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Bethlehem whose daily lives are so close to the troubles in the Middle East and who strive so successfully to show the “love of God” to the children in their care in this “beacon of hope” that is the SOCS.
If you want to find out how you can help support SOCS, please contact:
Peter Morrell (01926 332488)
Please find attached the latest Newsletter from the SOCS Support Group.
We do hope that some of you may be able to come to the Quiz & Fish
& Chip Supper on 11th March. Tickets available from me or John Radford.
If not but would like to make a donation, please make cheques payable to
Coventry Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd (SOCS Support Fund)
and send to
Coventry Diocesan Board of Finance,
1, Hill Top,
Coventry. CV1 5AB.
With our very best wishes,
On behalf of the SOCS Support Group, Diocese of Coventry.
Diocese of Coventry.
SOCS in BETHLEHEM Support Group.
NEWSLETTER. JANUARY 2017.
A Happy and peaceful New Year from the SOCS Support Group.
The school now in its 14th year expanded considerably during 2016 with a new building ready for students at the beginning of the new school year.
Amal in her email of September 16 writes,
“The new building, largely funded by the Barnabas Fund, will provide 11 new rooms over two floors. Demand for school places is high and in September 2016 there will be 550 students between the ages of 3 -17, ie classes from Kindergarten to Grade 11. The economic situation is still difficult, very few have good incomes, some still suffer from low incomes and some with no income at all. The number of tourists visiting Bethlehem is critically low with employment opportunities and work depending to a large extent on tourism. A large number of students, 30%, either cannot pay school fees or pay very little and the new building and expansion of the school has created financial challenges. However our priorities are the students and the facilities they require for their education. We are grateful for your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for the school, the community it serves and for the building project to proceed and survive all the obstacles and difficulties.”
During 2016 the Support Group authorised the transfer of £11000 to the school, £5000 to help families with school fees and £6000 for items in the new building including furniture and books. £150000+ has now been sent via the Support Group to the school since it opened in 2003. Thank you so much for your continuing support.
And with financial support in mind, our next fund-raising event will be the annual
Quiz & Fish & Chip Supper, to be held this year on,
Saturday 11th March, 7.15pm for a 7.30pm (prompt) start, at
St.John’s Church Hall, Kenilworth.
Tickets £9 include a delectable fish & chip supper and are available from
John Radford (email@example.com) or me (see below)
Bring your own drinks. RAFFLE. Prizes for which will be gratefully received.
With our very best wishes,
Peter Morrell on behalf of the SOCS Support Group, Diocese of Coventry.
7, The Greswoldes, Radford Semele. Leamington Spa. CV31 1TP. 01926 332488.