Friends of Bethlehem University

New venture with Friends of Bethlehem University

FHL Chairman Jim Quinn reports on a new venture for FHL.

Bethlehem University and Friends of Bethlehem University (“FOBU”)

FOBU was formed at the time that information of the terminal illness of the late Cardinal Basil Hume became known. A small group of friends had the vision in response to this announcement of creating a Chair of Religious Studies in memory of the Cardinal at Bethlehem University. Despite the high cost, a Charity was set up, FOBU, in 1999 and within a remarkably short time, 2003, the first holder of the office was appointed, Fr Jamal Khader. At that time Fr Jamal had no idea that he would also become the first Chairman of the Holy Land Committee of FHL in 2010

FOBU achieved its primary objective of establishing the Chair but as there were funds available for other projects over and above that required to fund the Chair, the Board agreed to undertake a second activity to fund part of the development of the new library at Bethlehem University. Also, Olive Aid within FOBU was established in and run very successfully by Roy Putt supported by his son-in-law Stephen Ballard.

Running alongside these three activities, FOBU continued to provide support to students with scholarships.

To a very real extent two of these core activities have now been completed and the Board of Trustees of FOBU has asked the question “where do we go from here?” Given the mature age profile of some of the Trustees, The Board decided that it would like the support for Bethlehem University to be channelled through an organisation in younger hands as it believed that many supporters wish to maintain their connection with Bethlehem University providing funding particularly for scholarships.

Friends of the Holy Land (FHL) seemed to fit the bill. Like FOBU, FHL was born out of the wish to meet a need in the Holy Land. Both charities can trace their roots back to the same organisations with the Roman Catholic Church and their objectives were and are very similar.

Agreement was reached between the two charities and notices and statements of intent were sent out to FOBU supporters in April. FHL have been in full communication with Bethlehem University so that, in so far as it is possible, those supporters of FOBU who wish to continue their support for the University can be accommodated.

It is hoped that by the end of October all administrative arrangements required will have been completed to allow FOBU to wind up.

Data Protection Regulations have necessarily hampered our progress in that FOBU has been prevented from sharing its data with FHL, and FHL has therefore been unable to make contact with supporters of FOBU otherwise than through FOBU. If therefore you are a reader who is a supporter of FOBU who wishes to continue your support through the arrangements agreed between FOBU and FHL but have not yet been contacted by FOBU or have not contacted FHL to renew your support, please do make contact with us through office@friendsoftheholyland.org.uk.

Jim Quinn