A number of members of Bridges for Peace, along with invited guests from the Jewish community here, gathered at the Bridges for Peace offices on Portage Avenue on Wednesday, October 4, to hear reports about BFP activities from BFP International Development Director Rev. Cheryl Hauer and Deputy International Development Director Terry Mason, both of whom live in Israel.


Rev. Hauer reported on the success that BFP has had in expanding to new countries, including South Korea three years ago and Russia this past year. There are now a total of nine countries with BFP offices in the world, she noted.
Rev. Hauer listed the objectives of BFP:
- “to provide a way for Christians to tangibly express their support for Israel”;
- “to make a statement that we” (Israelis and Jews who support Israel) “are not alone”.
Over the years BFP has played a vital role in contributing to the well-being of tens of thousands of less privileged Israelis by:
- providing food for over 25,000 Israelis monthly;
- providing hot meals for tens of thousands of Israeli school children;
- helping to refurbish residences
for hundreds of Israelis
With hundreds of volunteers who visit Israel for a few weeks at a time, BFP has 12 different projects ongoing there. There are two administrative cenres in Israel: Jerusalem and Karmiel.
In addition to its active projects in Israel, BFP devotes much of its attention to what Rev. Hauer described as “hasbarah” (information).
Various members of BFP mentioned the strong relationships that have been forged by their organization with members of the Jewish community here. (Rev. John Howson was the Negev Gala honouree several years ago, while the Jewish Federation, through its Community Relations Director, Shelley Faintuch, has worked hand-in-hand with BFP to improve the image of Israel among Christians here.)
Terry Mason, Deputy International Development Director, noted that the largest source of support for BFP comes from two countries: the U.S. (unsurprisingly) and Japan (surprise!)
So many members of BFP in Winnipeg have spent long periods of volunteer service in Israel that Rev. John Howson said there is a name given for those particular volunteers: “Israelites”.
While all BFP volunteers are Christian, Terry Mason said that BFP is an organization devoted to “reconciliation”.
 Eric Malloy told the story how Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Ottawa initiated a city-wide event there so that the Jewish community could be made aware of the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt.
He added that members of BFP also came to the aid of members of the Yazidi community through the efforts of Yolanda Papini-Pollock, who was one of the originators of what became known as Opertion Ezra.