Meet Christ at the Checkpoint Coordinator: Razan Kutlo
For every successful event and conference we host, we have those secret soldiers who work very hard in order for the event to be the best it can be. This month, we will be having the 5th Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CATC). The past four CATC Conferences we’ve held have been very successful and have made a difference. Meet the beautiful, behind-the-scenes soldier coordinating our fifth CATC Conference: Razan Kutlo.
Razan is a 29-year-old Syriac Orthodox Christian. (Read more about Syriacs at BethBC in this Article). She is the Academic Dean’s assistant, and she has been working at BethBC for two and a half years. Her job is delegated by the Academic Dean, Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac. She does anything related to the Academic department:
“I make a link between every department in the College and the Academic Dean, as well as between the leadership and the Dean. So, anything related to the Academic department has to pass through me to the Academic Dean, including arranging academical conferences with other universities, etc.”
In regard to how BethBC influenced her life, Razan said: “BethBC was a changing point in my life. I came to the College with a very worldly view and life style. I was very selfish, very concentrated on myself, my goals, my achievements and dreams. It was only about me! But when I came to the College, it brought me back to the right track, back to the way I was raised in the first place. I stopped thinking about myself, and I started thinking about others too, my family, friends and everybody in my life. I redirected my eyes to heaven. I started to put God first in every decision I made.”
She added: “What attracts people most to BethBC is the atmosphere. We are a very big, good family. We love each other, and we have good relations with each other. I can tell you that with certainty because I worked in many places before, and I can feel the difference. We have good communication between the staff, good teamwork spirit, and we have very good relationships with the leadership as well.”
Christ at the Checkpoint Conference
Razan is the coordinator of Christ at the Checkpoint in its fifth cycle. She is responsible for all the logistic work of the Conference including registration, participantion, following up with hotels regarding accommodation, and following up with the speakers and their sessions. It is a lot of work to handle, but she enjoys it as it has a bigger purpose.
About the Conference
“What would Jesus do if he was to stand at one of the Israeli Checkpoints? What would he think? What would he feel? How would he act?” This is what made Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, the Academic Dean at Bethlehem Bible College and the Director of Christ at the Checkpoint Conferences, create the conference with the support of the BethBC leadership. CATC then came to life in 2010.
And why the title, “Christ at the Checkpoint?” Christ is the symbol of the Christian faith, and the checkpoint is a symbol of the reality for Palestinians. Why not then Christ at the Checkpoint?
The Conference started with a community of evangelical Christians who believe that following Jesus with integrity means that their lives are formed by their love for God, the teaching of the Bible and a fearless life of discipleship in the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They believe that one of the first hallmarks of discipleship is love for both their own community and for their enemies.
They also believe that their discipleship requires a prophetic voice. They feel compelled to address the injustices that have taken place in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, particularly the Palestinian lands under occupation.
And through the conference, they gather with many communities from around the world to say that: “Our present circumstances are intolerable and do not reflect the righteousness of the Kingdom of God. We abhor violence. We believe that standing up nonviolently to injustice is an acceptable expression of our faith.”
Jesus Christ at the Center
This year, CATC will be taking place in Bethlehem from the 28th of May until the 1st of June. Participants numbering around 400 people from all over the world include Singapore, Cameroon, the United States, Canada, and of course Bethlehem. Believers from very big churches around the world are coming, and the majority are evangelical believers.
The theme of this year’s CATC Conference is “Jesus Christ at the Center.” Christ is the center of everything: our being, the universe, and theology. As so many Christian theologies that place Israel at the center, we, as evangelical Christians in Palestine, believe that Christ is in the center, not Israel, just as Rev. Munther said!
Christ at the Checkpoint conferences are unique in that they not only offer stimulating lectures and workshops, but also give you the opportunity to hear the voices of local Palestinian Christians and experience the day-to-day reality of living in Bethlehem. You will be challenged by renowned speakers, both international and Palestinian, with an openness to diverse perspectives.
This year’s speakers include: Ajith Fernando, a teaching director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka; Eugene Cho, founder and lead pastor of Quest Church – an urban, multi-cultural and multi-generational church in Seattle, Washington; Brian Zahnd, founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church – a non-denominational Christian congregation in Saint Joseph, Missouri; Munther Isaac, Academic Dean of BethBC and pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem; Jack Sara the president of BethBC; and many more!
Thanks to people like Rev. Munther Isaac, his assistant Razan Kutlo, and the leadership of BethBC who make this conference possible. We pray that everyone who will attend CATC will be willing to open their ears and hearts to hear the cries of their Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ.