The Sacred Center
Dear Friends,

Insight is often elliptical. An appointment with a local carpenter led me across a shop-floor scattered with wood-shavings. Some were long and tight, and others round and loose, but all lay empty in the core. Curiously elegant and even complex, each lacked a center.
With the rise of supremacist violence and politics across the world, it becomes increasingly apparent that that many have lost any sense of the sacred. Prejudice, despair, manipulation and fear render many just like those wood-shavings - without a center.
At Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB), we believe that human life is sacred. Each and every person is made in the image and likeness of the Creator. JPB's many peace and leadership programs for adults and teens seek to advance the dignity of this sacred likeness in Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and non-believers alike. Ours is an active commitment to common humanity that honors the One who is source and center of all life.
JPB with interfaith leaders in Jerusalem as part of the URI Golden Rule Day
New friendships forged last summer in the Service-Learning Institute

And where is this sacred center to be found? With human hearts too often resembling those wood shavings, it is easy to look for that answer in places. Indeed, with the celebrations of Passover, Easter and Ramadan soon upon us, it is tempting to seek the Beloved's Face in the holy shrines of Jerusalem.
Yet JPB's experience suggests that the sacred center is to be found in the courage of the teen leaders preparing to listen to each other this summer or in the determination of school teachers preparing to open their classrooms to JPB programing or in ourselves when we make room for their inspiration and humanity in our lives. Indeed, insight is often elliptical.
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,

The Rev. Canon Nicholas Porter
Executive Director, Jerusalem Peacebuilders

Interfaith Youth Houston program continues to grow
All smiles after a great day of service 
On March 31, JPB convened 30 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim teens and adults from across Houston to give their time and talents volunteering at the local nonprofit organization, Houston Food Bank.  The Houston Food Bank leads the fight against hunger in Houston by distributing food donations to needy families that would otherwise go to waste. As  America's largest food bank, the Food Bank distributes 122 million nutritious meals through its network of 1,500 community partners in southeast Texas, feeding 800,000 individuals each year.

JPB teens spent the morning sorting food donations and creating gift-packages for children. After a light-lunch, the teens reflected on the experience and why it is important to volunteer and care for the needy of our world. Many participants committed to bringing their families back to volunteer and described having an increased sense of gratitude. Our final event of the spring will be a Ramadan Iftar event at Ilm Academy and the El Farouq Mosque. We hope some of you can join us!
New model to be implemented in two Summer Institutes
JPB was represented at the recent Project ECHO Immersion training session by JPB volunteer, Dr. Danna Kurtin. At this training she had an opportunity to explain the JPB program to a diverse group of healthcare workers and educators.
Dr. Danna Kurtin speaking at the Project ECHO training in New Mexico
Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, where they live. The ECHO model dramatically increases access to knowledge and support. It does this by a continuous learning system and partnering providers with specialist mentors.

JPB leadership plans to adapt this model for continued development of the Interfaith Citizenship Institute and EXCEL Institute participants this summer. This model will transcend borders and distance for the continuation of learning and peacebuilding in these communities.
It will be the first time the ECHO methodology will be applied in a peacebuilding environment. The founder of Project ECHO, Dr. Sanjeev Arora and COO, Dr. Oliver Bogler are very excited to have JPB adapt their model for building peace in the Middle East and the world.
Membership will help lift JPB's message to wider audience
In late-February, JPB joined the United Religions Initiative (URI) as a Cooperation Circle.  URI's work focuses on bridging differences between people of all beliefs, creating community, and solving local and global challenges.  Joining URI has been a longtime goal, as it helps JPB connect with other interfaith organizations and peacebuilders across the USA, Middle East, and world. Through URI, we will be able to share updates about our work, participate in joint peacebuilding projects and trainings, as well as reach a larger audience with our message of reconciliation. 
A record 5 programs,125 participants expected!

Summer 2019 is shaping up to be yet another record-breaking summer for JPB, with five summer institutes scheduled to launch for youth and adults in July and August.  In total, we received more than 210+ applications and are expecting approximately 125 participants (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze) to attend our programs. The Summer Institutes include highly qualified teens from over twenty schools across the Holy Land, of which several are current partners with JPB in offering JPB's signature Leadership and Peacebuilding courses to their students. The JPB-Retorika EXCEL Institute for adults will include a diverse array of passionate Israeli and Palestinian teachers from both private and public high schools across Israel.  Below are the dates of our 2019 Summer Institutes:

  • Voyager (TX): July 31 - August 8
  • Service-Learning (CT): August 4 - 14
  • Interfaith Citizenship (TX): July 31 - August 12
  • Leadership (VT): July 14 - 28
  • JPB-Retorika EXCEL (UK): July 21 - 29
We are still on the hunt for a few more committed volunteers for our VT and CT programs.  Please send us an email at if you are interested in supporting our teens this summer!
See and Support the Order of St John's Mission in 2020
Surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land date from the fourth century.  If you are a confrère of the Order of St John and missed JPB's 2019 pilgrimage to Jerusalem, you are invited to join centuries of pilgrims who have made this journey next May (2020).
In partnership with JPB, the pilgrimage will be led by The Rev. Canon Nicholas Porter, KStJ.  Pilgrims will visit not only Jerusalem and The St John Eye Hospital, but also Bethlehem, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho, and the Crusader city of St Jean d'Acre.  Pilgrims will stay in the American Colony Hotel, located between the hospital and Jerusalem's Old City.
Other Confrères who have gone on Priory pilgrimages have found them to be a voyage of discovery, a life-changing experience that has deepened their faith, strengthened their commitments to the Order, and experienced first-hand the Holy Land and its peoples.  They have also formed close bonds with fellow Confrères both during the excursions and while relaxing in lovely settings.  The deadline for reservations is November 1, 2019.  For more information on Holy Land, Holy Work, please contact: Michele Blair,

The Holy City Jerusalem from mosaic pilgrimage map in Madaba Jordan (6th Cent AD)
On April 30, JPB's band of 22 pilgrims from New England and Texas arrive in Jerusalem to begin our annual pilgrimage.  Our encounter with the Lord God, together with the peoples and history of the Holy Land, will take us though central Israel, the Galilee, the West Bank and Jerusalem.  The journey together promises to change our lives. Please pray for our insight and safety by joining us with these words of the Methodist minister, Leslie Weatherhead (1893 - 1976):

O Christ our Master,
Give us confidence.  Deepen and increase our trust of you.
May we walk with our fellows not as those who have heard of you
But as those who are sure of you;
Not as those who know about you
But as those who know you.
Then timid though we have been,
With many a glance behind us,
We shall walk bravely along the pathway of your will
And all our fears will vanish.
Grant this for your Name's sake.  Amen.  

Help us raise the next generation of leaders and changemakers. Now more than ever the world needs them.

"JPB helped me to be the kind of leader who will  
make the changes I want to see in the world." 
                                                            - 2018 Participant  
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Jerusalem Peacebuilders, Inc. 
3300 Chimney Rock, Suite 301
Houston, TX 77056 USA 

Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) is a tax-exempt organization per section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is further classified as a public charity. Donations may be made directly to JPB and deducted under Section 170 of the Code. JPB's federal tax identification number (EIN) is 45-2233148.

Because the future of Jerusalem is the future of the world