Foundation of the Michael Prior Memorial Fund
The Revd Professor Michael Prior C.M. died suddenly in July 2004.
Vincentian priest and academic, he was also a stalwart, fearless and vocal supporter of the rights of Palestinians, and a founder and chairman of Living Stones.
The reaction to his death was one of deep sadness and loss. Such was the strength of the response of his many friends and colleagues, coupled with a powerful wish to see his name and work perpetuated, that Living Stones decided to establish a memorial educational fund in his memory, focussing initially on contextual Palestinian Christian theology, Holy Land Studies, contextual pilgrimage and tourism in the Holy Land.
The primary purpose of the Fund is to provide scholarships and bursaries [link to ]to promote the development of higher academic studies among Palestinians, or finance research fellowships or lectureships in an appropriate area of study at a partner institution of higher education in the Middle East. However, it is also provides financial help for conferences, lectures and sponsored visits and publication of books that promote the development of research in the said areas of study.
About the Michael Prior Memorial Fund and Scholarships
The Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust invites applications for financial help from suitably qualified persons wishing to undertake post-graduate degrees wholly, or in part, in the following areas of study aiming to benefit the Palestinian/Arab community in the Middle East:
- Christianity in the Middle East
- Contextual Palestinian Theology
- Pilgrimage and Holy Land Studies
Studies related to advancing the interests of the Palestinian/Arab community will also be considered, such as:
- Charity management
- Secondary or tertiary education
- Social welfare and health care
Priority will be given to those planning to study at doctoral level (PhD, D.Phil), but students applying for Masters level study (MA, MSc, MPhil) will also be considered.
Preference will be given to applicants who are currently living or working in Israel/Palestine, without prejudice to religious or cultural identity. Others living outside Israel/Palestine, but with family connections to the Holy Land, will also be considered.
Applications will be considered twice a year, in January and September.
Please apply to Dr Lesley Dawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Secretary of Scholarship Fund at Living Stones of the Holy Land.
Michael Prior Funded Scholars
- Grace Al Zoughby
MA completed at London School of Theology, 2010.
Dissertation topic ‘Transforming revolution; A study on Jesus’ interactions with women in the Gospel of St John and its contemporary application to a Christian Palestinian context’
Living Stones contributed full fees and expenses
- Munther Isaac
Completed PhD at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in 2014.
Thesis topic ‘Theology of the Land with a special reference to the Palestinian Church’
Living Stones contributed to final year expenses
- Omar Rashid
Completed dissertation for an MSc International Development at University of Birmingham in 2014.
Title: ‘Disability under occupation; At the congruence between conflict, religion and society in Palestine’.
- Abed Masih Yunan
Completed an MA in Jerusalem Studies through Al Quds University in 2015, and is studying for a further 3 credits to allow transfer to higher studies elsewhere.
Living Stones contributed to cost of Year Two modules
- Ussama Salman
Completed PhD at University of Wales, Lampeter 2017.
Thesis title: ‘Analysis of the problems that face Palestinian Christians on their presence and identity in Jerusalem’
Living Stones contributed full fees and expenses
- Archimandrite Nikodemos Anagnostopoulos
Completed a PhD at Heythrop College, University of London.
Thesis topic: ‘Turkey, Religious minorities and the State; The case of the Greek Orthodox minority of Istanbul’.
Living Stones contributed to living expenses in London
- Kristian Girling
Completed a PhD in Theology at Heythrop College, University of London 2016.
Thesis title: ‘A study of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Iraq and the diaspora of Jordan and Britain from 2003 – 2013’.
Living Stones contributed to costs in final year.
- Jack Nassar
Completed a one-year Masters in Political Development and Communication at Goldsmith University in London, UK. Living Stones contributed to his fees
- Johnny Bassous
Studying for an MA at Bethlehem Bible College.
Living Stones has contributed full fees
- Emil Halloun
Completing a PhD in English Literature entitled “Amity and enmity; metaphors of weakness and strength in literature and literary theory” at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv.
Living Stones is contributing to his fees
- Marcelle Zoughbi
In her first year of studies for a Masters in International Communication and Development at Bethlehem University.
Living Stones is contributing full fees
- Nadine Bitar
Studying for an MA in Christian Ministry at North Park University in Chicago, USA.
Living Stones has contributed towards her living costs in the USA.
- Andrew Ashdown
Researching for a PhD in Christian and Muslim relations in Syria, at University of Winchester, UK.
Living Stones have contributed towards the costs of fieldwork in Syria.
Michael Prior Memorial Lecture and Sponsored Visits
2016 – Michael Prior Memorial Lecture: Professor Mary Grey, Chair of Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust: ‘The Balfour Declaration: acknowledging Britain’s past and exploring her responsibility for peace-making: a Christian perspective’
2015 – Michael Prior Memorial Lecture: Zoughbi Zoughbi, Director of the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Centre, Wi’am, Bethlehem: ‘Politics and Religion – seeking a sustainable peace for Palestine’.
2014 – Michael Prior Memorial Lecture: Dr Duncan Macpherson: ‘Remembering Michael Prior: Loose Ends’
2014 – Michael Prior Anniversary Academic Conference at Heythrop College, Kensington, London
2013 – Michael Prior Memorial Lecture: Prof James Conroy: ‘The Toledo guidelines and the myth of the Andalusian Caliphates’
2012 – Michael Prior Memorial Lecture: Revd Dr Ra’ed Awad Deeb Abusahlia: ‘Peace and Justice: a Christian Viewpoint from the Holy Land’
2012 – Revd Dr Ra’ed Awad Deeb Abusahlia, Latin Parish Priest, Taybeh, West Bank. considering ‘Challenges to pastoral and spiritual leadership in Palestine and some successful strategies’.
2011 – Michael Nazir-Ali, President of OXTRAD and former Bishop of Rochester considering ‘Contexts for leadership in Middle Eastern Christianity’ Catholic Chaplaincy, Oxford
2011 – Nur Musalha, Professor of Religion and Politics speaking on ‘Violence, Non-Violence and Religion’ Bethlehem University, West Bank
2010 – Abuna Elias Chacour, Melkite Archbishop of Galilee, Friends of Biblelands inaugural lecture, Christ Church, Oxford. Partly sponsored by Michael Prior Memorial Educational Fund.
2010 – Professor Jacqueline Rose, distinguished scholar and author of ‘The Question of Zion (2005)’ and ‘The Last Resistance (2007). Speaking on St. Mary’s University College, London
2009 – Lecture tour of Fr. Jamal Khader, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Bethlehem University speaking on ‘Christian Muslim relations in the Holy Land today’; ‘The Church in Palestine: Crisis and Challenge.’ And ‘Education under siege; Challenges facing universities in Palestine’.
2008 – Victoria Clark, distinguished author and journalist, speaking on ‘The Influence of the the Evangelical Zionist Lobby on Perceptions of Islam in the Western Media Bethlehem University, West Bank.
2007 – Michael Fisk, distinguished journalist and author of the Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East’ speaking on ‘Facts, Lies and Videotape’. St. Mary’s University College, London
Book: ‘A Living Stone’ – Selected Essays and Addresses of Michael Prior CM’
Edited with an introduction by Duncan Macpherson. Published in 2006 by Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust.
Available at £20 plus postage from Melisende Publications (G8, Allen House, The Maltings, Station Road, Sawbridgeworth, Herts CM21 9JX. Tel: +44 01279 72138)
How to support the Michael Prior Fund
The Fund stands at approximately £100,000 and it is largely the interest from the fund that is used to support the above activities.
Living Stones would like to extend its reach but needs to double the fund, which it aims to do in the next five years. Please consider remembering us in your Will, or making a donation in the name of a loved one.
All contributions will be gratefully received and should be sent to the Honorary Treasurer, Living Stones, 48 Strickland Way, Orpington, Kent, BR6 9UE.
A Gift Aid form for your contribution is available here [form being checked]. Please mark any contributions clearly as ‘Michael Prior Memorial Fund’.