Organizational History and Origins

This particular chronological overview begins in 1974. It is centered on the fulfillment of the mission statement, and we pose the question of whether we have we fulfilled the mission statement’s intent? COMFORT to the Jewish people. FRIENDSHIP between Jews and Christians and SUPPORT for Israel, the prophetic sign expressed through the state of Israel.

  1. January 1, 1974 – Christian C. Svendsen takes on the role as editor of Kirkeklokken (The Church Bell), then a weekly magazine with a circulation of 7,000, with a strong tradition for fundraising.
  2. During this same period, the scripture of Isaiah chapter 40 are brought to life in the eyes of Christian and his wife Inge Regitze. Even though they have read these words before, they suddenly understand them in a literal manner. They really do concern the city of Jerusalem. They feel compelled to do something; comfort and speak kindly to Jerusalem. However, they have no acquaintances in Jerusalem.
  3. August 1974: The couple meets Marthe Berreby, a Messianic, Jewish woman, who oversees humanitarian work in Jerusalem. Christian endorses her person and her ministry in his magazine.
  4. 1975 – Editor Christian Svendsen sends out a call to prayer for Israel. In April, regular prayer meetings for Israel start up. A group of regulars supports this monthly meeting. Among the participants are Eva Ravn, Ragnvald Karlstad, Knud Filskov, Inger Møller and others. The Church Bell magazine serves as an platform for supporting various projects in Israel.
  5. 1975 – Cooperation with KKL and its leader, Erik Hertz. A fundraising campaign for the Church Bell Forest is begun. The target is 10,000 trees, which is reached in 1980.
  6. 1976 – Inge and Christian travel to Jerusalem for the first time. They meet many of Marthe’s elderly patients, see the Church Bell Forest at Nazareth, and also meet the the couple Esther and Zvi Givati.
  7. Immediately upon their return, they meet Henri Pokrzewa (pronounced Boksjeva) at a party at the Karlstad House in Hvidovre, Copenhagen. He encourages them to partake in a week’s fellowship with approx. 30 Polish-Russian Jewish refugees, who at the time were living in Denmark.
  8. 1976 – A summer camp is held at the Danish boarding school Krogerup in Humlebæk, northern Sealand. A written invitation entitled “Danish-Jewish Friendship” is circulated by Pokrzewa. Thirty-five Jewish people participate free of charge, thanks to a collection that raised DKK 35,000. A few Danes also participate; among them Eva Ravn, Ebba and Ragnvald Karlstad, as well as Inge and Christian; all in all, a highly educational week that led to lasting personal friendships.
  9.  August 1976- Together with Marthe, Christian and Regitze visit the Israeli embassy and Ambassador Ben Ari.
  10. February 1977  – Eva Ravn travels to Jerusalem as the organization’s trailblazing first volunteer. She lives with Marthe and visits elderly Jewish people and studies Hebrew at an ulpan (language school) in Jerusalem.
  11. July 1977 – The second Krogerup retreat is held for the Polish-Russian Jews. Christian and Inge Regitze by now have many close friends in the group. Johnny and Gisele Noer take part.
  12. August 1977 – Hazel Eiris travels to Israel as the next volunteer. The two volunteers send back good reports, which Christian publishes in his magazine.
  13. All efforts have hitherto been carried out under the auspices of the Church Bell, but Christian realizes the need for a different type of organization at home in Denmark, and begins to draw up articles of association and a mission statement in order to establish an organizational structure. It becomes clear, furthermore, that future efforts should not be of a private nature but rather directed toward the state of Israel, which is the prophetic sign of the age.
  14. January 15, 1978: Approx. twenty participants are invited to a meeting in Inge Regitze’s and Christian’s home in Rødovre, Copenhagen. On this occasion, the association Danish-Jewish Friendship is founded. The first edition of Israel’s Watchman is published. Christian C. Svendsen is elected chairman of the board. Protocols with minutes from board meetings are introduced.