Who We Are

Our Mission

The Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOL) a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation was established by The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme to provide cross-cultural and transnational travel experiences, interfaith conferences and educational opportunities to help participants to become more enlightened and more engaged in making this a more just and peaceful world in which to live.

The Tree of Life is a Sacred Symbol for many cultures. It reminds us that all of creation is deeply interrelated and interconnected. World peace and harmony depend on our realization of this truth.  It is a reminder that we do not live in an “an orchard” separate from one another, but all spiritual traditions are branches on the same tree – The Tree of Life – each drawing nourishment from the goodness of God’s Creation. This is especially critical in the Holy Land where so many faith traditions share that sacred place.

Board of Advisors

Tree of Life Educational Fund gives thanks for those who serve on our Board of Advisors. However, we would prefer to think of them as our “Shepherds” for surely by their courage, integrity and steadfast dedication they exemplify what it means to be a keeper or a shepherd of that sacred vision.

Ilan Pappé

Barbara Lubin

Laila El-Haddad

Graylan Hagler

Paul Verryn

Col. Ann Wright

George Saadeh

Khalil Alamour

Mazin Qumsiyeh


We give thanks for our “shepherds” – Mazin, Khalil, George, Ann, Paul, Graylan, Laila, Barbara and Ilan. May they inspire and instruct us to be “a place of vigilance” wherever we live, to keep alive the songs of hope, to be ever vigilant on behalf of the vulnerable and the fragile, and especially for our children, be a voice for those who do not have a voice and to light the candles when all seems dark.

In this age when so many children suffer from war, bigotry and injustice may we all work toward that day when the streets of Jerusalem and indeed all our cities and towns will be filled with children, no longer divided, no longer afraid. May we all be shepherds of that Sacred Vision!

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