Janet Lahr Lewis is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving as advocacy coordinator for the Middle East at the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC. She came to that post in 2015 after many years as a missionary and, prior to 2001, a mission volunteer in Palestine and Israel.
At Church and Society, Janet engages in advocacy and activism on Middle East issues, working with the Peace with Justice program of that agency and with ecumenical organizations, such as the Faith Forum. The forum mobilizes persons for visits to members of the US Congress. Janet circulates updates on developments in the ongoing Middle East conflict, suggests courses of education, and hosts church delegations wanting to know more about the situation.
Janet first visited Israel/Palestine in 1994. She became so concerned about conditions that she sold her house in the US to move there. “After taking a typical Holy Land tour and seeing the devastating consequences of the ongoing illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, I experienced not only a ‘call,’ but rather an undeniable ‘push’ to go back to that not-so-holy land and do whatever I could to help bring about ‘freedom for the oppressed.’”
She spent three years as an assistant to Archbishop Elias Chacour in a Palestinian village in Galilee. In 1997, she moved to Bethlehem to volunteer with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, based in Jerusalem. She worked with Friends of Sabeel as a conference coordinator, and became the media specialist. In 1999, she returned to the US as executive director of Friends of Sabeel North America. In 2001, Janet was commissioned as a missionary and returned to Jerusalem to continue working with Sabeel.
In 2007, she began serving as Methodist liaison in Palestine/Israel. As such, she served the global Methodist community in advocacy efforts for justice and peace. One outcome was the establishment in 2012 of a joint Methodist Liaison Office sponsored by Global Ministries, the British Methodist Church, and the World Methodist Council. She completed her service in Palestine/Israel in 2014, and now lives in Virginia, near Washington, DC.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Janet earned an associate degree in civil engineering and architectural design from Lakeland College in Mentor, Ohio. She studied theater arts at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
Janet has three adult children and five grandchildren.
: East Ohio Annual Conference
, Indiana Annual Conference
, Northern Illinois Annual Conference
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