Meet Laurie Lyter Bright, Pilgrims’ New Executive Director

Abuna Elias Chacour, Laurie Lyter Bright, Duncan Ferguson

A Welcome from Pilgrims’ Board President, Duncan Ferguson:

This coming year will be a year of transi-tion for Pilgrims of Ibillin. Recently, our current Executive Director, Joan Deming, announced her retirement (effective December 31, 2017). Joan has given outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the mission of Pilgrims for which all of us are profoundly grateful. The Board of Directors under the leadership of Vice-President Bob Sawyer conducted a search for a new Executive Director and received applications from several well-qualified candidates.

We are very pleased to introduce our next Executive Director, Rev. Laurie Lyter Bright, a Presbyterian pastor who has served in two Presbyterian congregations and been engaged in several social justice ministries. She has her Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and San Francisco The-ological Seminary. In addition, Laurie had the opportunity to visit Israel and Palestine with one of our Living Stones Pilgrimages, so she has seen firsthand the several ministries of Pilgrims. She will return to the Holy Land in the near future with Duncan and Joan. She will be focusing her attention on the Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI) and meeting with the leaders of other mission partners that are served by Pilgrims in Bethlehem. Laurie begins her work in December and will be making every effort to get acquainted with all those within ‘the family’ of Pilgrims of Ibillin.

We are also pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Peter Henry, the pastor of the Grosse Point Memorial Presbyterian Church, the church that began the mission of Pilgrims, has been selected as the new President of the Board of Directors of Pilgrims. James Thomson, a retired senior administrator from the University of Michigan, will be assuming the role of Treasurer of Pilgrims.


Laurie with board member Chris Dekki

And Warm Greetings to the Pilgrims Community from Laurie Lyter Bright

Hello Fellow Pilgrims,

I am delighted and deeply honored to be joining the work of Pilgrims of Ibillin as your next executive director. I’m a long-standing admirer of the work of Pilgrims of Ibillin and having participated in a Living Stones pilgrimage in 2013, I know two things for certain: this organization is extraordi-nary, and I am following an incredible leader in my friend, Rev. Joan Deming. In what I imagine to be a common occurrence for first-time pilgrims, I was blown away by the complexity of the Holy Lands, the depth of work being done at the Mar Elias Educational Institution, and the radical hospitality extended by all our peace partners. I’m confident that my passion for youth education, the people of Palestine, and the possibilities of God’s peace in the world will be put to good use in furthering the legacy of great work by Pilgrims of Ibillin.

I’ve served as an ordained Presbyterian (USA) clergywoman for the past five years, both as a solo pastor and as a chaplain. Simultaneously, I’ve worked towards my PhD in education sciences and research methodology with a dissertation examining the ways the church can effectively respond to social justice challenges. I’ve also gained incredible experience as a grant writer, community organizer, and author, each of which began as hobbies and wound up as significant contract work and experience.

On a personal note, my husband, Jesse, and I live in gorgeous Denver, Colorado along with our dog Nova “Danger” Bright, and we’ll be welcoming our first child this coming February.
Thank you to the Board and leadership of Pilgrims of Ibillin for their confidence in me, and for this opportunity to love and serve.

With Joy,

Rev. Laurie Lyter Bright

Contact Us

Executive Director:

The Rev. Joan Deming
608-241-9281 office/home
608-235-1046 mobile

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To donate by check, make payable to Pilgrims of Ibillin and mail:
     Pilgrims of Ibillin c/o Jitasa
     1750 W Front St, Suite 200
     Boise, ID 83702

Pilgrims of Ibillin is a 501c3 nonprofit and donations are deductible under US tax law. Our tax # is 38-3243253.
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