Welcome to FHL's first Chief Executive

"On behalf of the Trustees, I warmly welcome Maria McCaffery OBE as the first Chief Executive of Friends of the Holy Land. This is an important step as part of our Strategic Plan to grow the Charity and give hope to an increased number of vulnerable Christians in the Holy Land. As CEO, Maria will play an integral part in our succession planning as we provide a robust structure of staff and volunteers at the Centre to support the hundreds of volunteers and generous donors around the country.

Maria will be immediately taking responsibility for all UK operations of FHL, whilst I will continue for the present time to be responsible for our activities in the Holy Land, with the support of our local Committee as well as the small team in Bethlehem and our partner organisations in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan.

It is my intention to continue to offer my support to FHL activities in the UK and I shall be working closely with Maria as she strives to fulfil the tasks of Director of Development alongside her new role as CEO. Maria brings great experience as the leader of not for profit organisations and the Trustees wish her every success and thank her for taking on this new challenge"

Peter Rand FHL Vice Chairman

"As I prepare to take on the mantle of FHL’s first Chief Executive I’m thinking what a steep learning curve I’ve been following for the past 6 months and how kind and welcoming (to say nothing of patient!) everybody’s been. I have yet to meet anyone linked to us who is not happy to be part of what we do: it’s infectious and I’ve been infected. From ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ Ambassadors who have been with us since the very beginning, to pilgrims returning from their first visit to the Holy Land who are asking the same question that inspired Cardinal Vincent to get us started, “What can we do? What can we do?” I love that question. It’s a precursor to a range of possibilities and an excellent opener for a dialogue centred upon exploring the amazing spectrum of skills, contacts, experience and opportunities our supporters are willing to place at our disposal. I never cease to be amazed at the variety of things that motivate people to support us. I’m looking forward to seeing the Holy Land as a pilgrim myself when I join the Lichfield / Birmingham ecumenical pilgrimage next Spring.

I’ve naturally spent much of my first six months learning the ropes and meeting people, and I’ve found everyone’s readiness to engage truly inspiring. I’ve notched up my first half a dozen or so pulpit presentations in a mixture of Anglican, RC and mixed congregations, always warmly received and generously supported. I’ve also attended my first National Gathering which felt like a family function, despite the fact that fully a third of all delegates had not been to one before, an encouraging signal that our profile is rising and our support base increasing with it. We have of course still a long way to go. Sadly, the poor and the marginalised in society will always be with us but with your continued support we can be both a hand on the shoulder of the most vulnerable Christians in the Holy Land and maintain a Christian presence there".  

                                                                                                                Maria McCaffery - Chief Executive