Our history

Embrace the Middle east - Christian charityEmbrace the Middle East is a Christian charity, originally set up in 1854.

We have worked with and supported Christian communities doing life-changing works in countries in the Near and Middle East, including Turkey, Syria, Egypt, the Balkans, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Cyprus.

Currently Embrace supports projects in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt Iraq and Syria.

The following timeline is created from the book The Light Bearers by Jean Hatton.

Her book records our story from it's very earliest days. She discovers the men and women who strived to provide front line care in conditions of horrific suffering, and events such as the Armenian genocide.


1854 The Turkish Missions Aid Society is founded by a group including Sir Culling Eardley (also one of the founders of the Evangelical Alliance) and Lord Shaftesbury, who was the first president. It was an evangelical charity set up to support missionary work among Armenian Christians in Turkey.

1883 The Star in the East, our original supporter magazine is first published

The Star in the East - Supporter magazine1893 The Turkish Missions Aid Society changes its name to the Bible Lands Missions Aid Society

1948 State of Israel declared and over 700,000 Palestinians forced from their homes, most into refugee camps

1954 First Bethlehem Carol Sheet is produced

1962  Bible Lands Missions Aid Society moves out of London to The Old Kiln in High Wycombe and becomes the Bible Lands Society

1967 Six-Day War: Israel occupies East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza

1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria

1975-91 Civil war in Lebanon

1987 - 1993 First Palestinian Intifada

1994 Palestinian Authority established under the Oslo Accords

BibleLands becomes Embrace the Middle East1996 The society becomes known as BibleLands

2000 - 2005  Second Palestinian Intifada

2011  The ‘Arab Spring’ spreads across the region, leading to the downfall of autocratic regimes in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen

2012  BibleLands becomes Embrace the Middle East.

2016 We publish Faith in Action, our new vision and strategic plan to transform even more lives in the Middle East. Click to read more.