On April 22, 2022, the Upper Room Mission graduated seven entrepreneurs. The graduation ceremony was attended by representatives of the Lund Mission Society, Rev. Dr. Prof. Samuel Rubenson, the Chairman of the Center for Theology and Religious Studies from Lund University and his wife Dr. Inga-Lill; by Dr. Marko Lehtimäki, from Ensimetri, that conducted the training in partnership with the URM; by Dr. Simo Lahtinen, a senior advisor and main supporter of the URM; by Rev. Dr. Maria Leppäkari, the international advisor of the URM; by Bishop Emeritus Dr. Munib Younan; and other prominent figures and leaders from Jerusalem.

On April 22, 2022, the Upper Room Mission graduated seven entrepreneurs. The graduation ceremony was attended by representatives of the Lund Mission Society, Rev. Dr. Prof. Samuel Rubenson, the Chairman of the Center for Theology and Religious Studies from Lund University and his wife Dr. Inga-Lill; by Dr. Marko Lehtimäki, from Ensimetri, that conducted the training in partnership with the URM; by Dr. Simo Lahtinen, a senior advisor and main supporter of the URM; by Rev. Dr. Maria Leppäkari, the international advisor of the URM; by Bishop Emeritus Dr. Munib Younan; and other prominent figures and leaders from Jerusalem.The graduation has been conducted after the participants had concluded four training modules that included the following topics:•    What is entrepreneurial work?•    Know your strengths•    Business idea and business development•    Calculations and pricing•    Sales and Marketing•    DesigningSpiritual Guidance:In addition to the business aspect of the training, the training also focused on providing spiritual guidance in order to enhance the Christian identity and be the living witness of Jesus Christ in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Among the main religious and spiritual leaders who led the spiritual guidance were Archbishop Atallah Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Bishop emeritus Munib Younan, the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the Previous President of the LWF, Rev. Carrie Ballenger, the ELCA pastor in Jerusalem, Rev. Fursan Zumot, the spiritual leader of the URM, and Rev. Nash’at Felomain from the Bethlehem Bible Society.2nd & 3rd Phases of the Pilot Project:After the graduation, the URM has started the second phase of the pilot project which included providing coaching for the participants in the field of the Israeli taxes and registration of businesses in Israel. Mr. Nizar Baransi, who is a Chartered Certified Accountant, from Baransi & Co. provided coaching in taxation and responded to the questions and concerns of the participants.The third phase of the project which includes the financing of the business plans of the graduates will start in two weeks after the graduates submit their business plans to the URM. A specialized committee will examine the business proposals and provide financial support accordingly.

 

Click here to see full Album of the URM Pilot Project Graduation Ceremony

“Jerusalem 30th March 2022

Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Sjømannskirken Rev. Leif Magne Helgesen who frequently visits Jerusalem was during his recent visit introduced to the Upper Room Mission.

Amazed by the mission’s entrepreneurship coaching achievements together with the Finnish Ensimetri entrepreneurship training program in this short period of time, Rev. Leif Magne Helgesen congratulated the Upper Room Mission.

The Upper Room Mission team and pilot project participants are grateful for his support and continuous prayers for this mission.

On photo Rev. Leif Mane Helgesen with URM advisor Rev., Dr. Maria Leppäkari at Damascus Gate admiring the lights of the season of Ramadan.”

Rev. Leif Mane Helgesen words were: “Your project is powerful, both in a small scale, and in a bigger scale. It has the possibility to do a change for individuals as well as for the Christian community – and for Jerusalem as a city and a place to live.

I wish you all the strength and spirit to build this organization further.”

The Upper Room Mission board have met with Mari Järvinen the Organizational Psychologist and Startup & Scaleup Coach and founder at Profounder. This is what Mari wrote:

With so many bad things happening these days, it’s sometimes hard to see and remember the good things out there. When there is so much we can’t influence, it can be good to look at what we can do to make the world a bit better. Here’s a picture of part of the team of The Upper Room Mission (together with Maria Leppäkari) in Jerusalem, during a combined dinner and coaching session. Who are they, you say?

The Upper Room was created to be a non-profit incubator and platform for Christian youth in the Holy Land, providing grants, business coaching and access to resources to people who want to start and run their own businesses. In addition to the challenging economic and political situation around them, during the pandemic many people in this community have suffered from the loss of income from tourism. Many young Christian Palestinians don’t see a future where they are, but since the start of the first Upper Room coaching program in January, it is also clear that there is great enthusiasm to build something new. I think that through these grassroot movements that things can really change.I know there are many investors, successful entrepreneurs and other good people in my network, so if you could help them with funding, advice, resources or connections, let me know and I’ll connect you! They’ve already worked with Ensimetri from Tampere and many others in their own community. I’ve also had the privilege to meet with them a few times already to facilitate their processes.

By God’s grace, the Upper Room Mission has initiated the first training on the 22nd of January 2022. Nine participants attended the first training out of a series of trainings. As part of our efforts to give more opportunities for women, eight of the nine participants are women. This training would first help the youth acquire new skills and knowhow that will enable them to compete in the current challenging and changing labor market and to be innovative; second, it would provide them with the necessary financial resources to implement their projects and initiatives; and thirdly it would enhance the Christian identity by providing spiritual and religious guidance, enhancing interfaith dialogue and cohabitation.

Archbishop Atallah Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem opened the training by giving an inspiring prayer and speech. He then discussed with the participants various issues vis-à-vis what it means to be a Christian in the Holy Land and what it means to be the salt of the earth. At the end, he blessed the Upper Room Mission and thanked the team of the URM for their dedication

and commitment to maintain the Christian presence and witness in the Holy Land and encouraged them to intensify their efforts.

Jerusalem, 12th June 2021

Your Excellency
Ambassador PAIVI PELTOKOSKI
Representative Office of Finland
Our valued guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First, I would like to thank you all for being with us in this special occasion. This inauguration ceremony of the Upper Room Mission is meant to say thank you for everyone who has helped in making the idea of the Upper Room Mission comes true, whether through devoting their expertise, connections, financial support, their time and their prayers for the interest and growth of the URM. We specially would like to thank Maria for believing in our mission and for joining our team from the early beginnings and to thank Bishop Oke for his generous contribution to help in establishing the Upper Room Mission. We also extend our thanks for the URM board members, to the Ensimetri for their valuable partnership and to all the Friends and partners of the Upper Room Mission who have joint us today via ZOOM. We hope we can have them here with us in the near future.
Without you all, we would have not been here today.

The idea of the Upper Room Mission was born in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, where there has been an urgent need to create job opportunities for thousands of young people who have lost their livelihood. It also addresses challenges faced by Christians in the Holy Land – a community living in the shadow of a vicious pandemic, in addition to the harsh economic and political situation that has plagued them for generations.

Simply, the URM aims at achieving the following objectives:

  1. Empower the youth and marginalized to become self-sustained and maintain decent livelihood.
  2. Facilitate the access of our youth to job opportunities and to businesses.
  3. Build bridges and open dialogue between our youth and the local churches and other communities.
  4. Engage the youth to work together on issues of common interest.Promote interactive learning/capacity building.

The implementation of these activities takes into consideration gender equality and justice and will be
accompanied by spiritual guidance from Rev. Fursan Zumot and other church leaders who will work on strengthening the ecumenical Christian identity of the participants.

In order for us to be successful in our mission and to grow in our ministry and our work, we would like to call upon our friends and partners to serve as advocates and ambassadors for the Upper Room Mission and to accompany us in our journey to maintain and strengthen the Christian presence and witness in the Holy Land.
We would also like to assure you that the Upper Room Mission will be your second home in the Holy Land.

We need your support and most importantly your prayers… God bless you all.

Tony Khashram (KCTJ) – CEO

Maria Leppäkari – 12th June 2021

A milestone of a mission – almost – impossible. In midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of the devastating effects of the escalation of the local conflict something good emanates: The launch of a locally initiated NGO called the “Upper Room Mission”.

I’m blessed, privileged and proud to be part of this new ecumenical Christian entrepreneurship coaching program in Jerusalem. This exclusive, all voluntary work based initiative has been an incredible journey and experience.

Therefore, we invite everyone, whether religious or secular to join us. Become part of this amazing community initiative! Yes, we will need your time, your energy, your networks, your expertise, your prayers, and your financial support. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. More posts and info will definitely follow.

By the grace of God and with the help of amazing friends we’ve managed to pull it through this far. But this is only the beginning. We are now looking forward to the initial start of the entrepreneurship coaching collaboration with the Finnish Ensimetri business coaching program together with its CEO & President, Dr. Marko Lehtimäki and others.

Thank you FELM Center Jerusalem for allowing us to gather in your facilities tonight and thank you, your Excellency, Ambassador Päivi Peltokoski, Head of the Representative Office of Finland for honoring us with your presence.

 

Some pictures from the event