News about our staff

Dan and Neva Handley

When Vibeke and I came in July 2016 to the Christ Church Guest House in Jerusalem to be interviewed for the position that I now hold, the first person we met there was Dan Handley. He met us at reception, took our bags and showed us to our room. He was gracious and kind, and refused to let me help him with the bags.


Dan and his wife Neva have served for the last five years as volunteer co-ordinators at Christ Church. During my time here I’ve got to know them a bit better, and my impression of them both from that first meeting has been reinforced time and again. And for the last two weeks, as I’ve played the role of Acting Guest House Manager, I have seen from close up what a gift they have been to us, and to all the volunteers and staff that have served here during their time.

Dan and Neva Handley

They have now decided to move back home to the United States in October to spend time with their family. Yesterday was their last day ‘on duty’. Their decision to move back home is our great loss, and their family’s great gain.


Volunteer co-ordinators do many things, but Dan and Neva have gone way beyond what was expected of them. Creating schedules, planning outings and trips, greeting guests and tour groups, hosting prayer meetings and bible studies, watching over the dining room, resolving conflicts, acting as parents to so many of the young people who’ve volunteered with us, running marathons, taking photographs, being shoulders to cry on, making new friends for our ministry in the Old City… I could go on. It’s clear that they will be a hard act to follow.


While of course we wish them God speed as they return home, and regret their loss, we also rejoice in having been able to share this time with them, to watch them and learn from them. Volunteering with CMJ Israel is not always easy, and often the pressures we all face here in Jerusalem get to the volunteers as well. But the joy of serving God in this place, of making a difference, of blessing the many visitors to Jerusalem from overseas that we meet, and blessing this nation and its people by being here – well, Jesus put it best when he said “It’s more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20: 35).


Dan and Neva have personified Paul’s commission to Timothy to “set an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4: 12). It gives me great pleasure to honour them, and to thank them.

You can find out more about volunteering with us on our website, here:

Vida Butterfield

Just last month we also said farewell to Vida Butterfield, Guest House Director at Christ Church for five years. During her time with us at CMJ Israel, Vida did wonders with the Guest House in relation to staff, volunteers, procurement, processes, professionalism and, very significantly, in ministry. Vida was always present, always visible, dancing sylph-like through the day as she moved about the compound at Christ Church.

Vida and David Butterfield

Vida has left the Guest House in a better shape than she found it when she came, and we are immensely grateful to her. We wish her and David blessings from Jerusalem as they return to the UK.


We’re so looking forward to the arrival here later this month of our new Guest House Director Paul Dilcher who will take over Vida's position, and his wife Karin who will fill Dan and Neva’s shoes as Volunteer Co-ordinator. Please pray for them as they prepare to join us.

And the party just won’t stop. Last week we shared the joy again as our own Fahed and Mary celebrated their engagement. Fahed is Assistant Guest House Manager at Christ Church. Another wonderful event with lots of dancing and a couple that are so well suited to each other. They should be; they met at Christ Church Guest House, where Mary used to work in Fahed’s office!


These things are all signs of God’s blessing upon us. Weddings, engagements, good farewells and jobs well done. We’re grateful.


Fahed and Mary engagement


Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful events at Christ Church! Sadness and joy all around. News to me of Benno's wedding!! Mazel tov!! I have watched Benno grow up from a very little boy. What fun !!

Thank you for your comments Theresa. It's been an exciting summer, and I think we have all taken great encouragement from these events. And yes, it is wonderful to see those we've known for years, watched grow up, get married and become a couple. What fun indeed!

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