The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, has recently been participating in the annual Holy Land Coordination, meeting this year in Jordan, where he accompanied an international group of Roman Catholic Bishops on their pastoral visit.

The visit focused on the important role that Christians play in building bridges of hope between communities. Particularly the vital efforts and support for those fleeing violence and hardship in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, through the provision of accommodation, skills-training, medical facilities, pastoral care, and advocacy.

Speaking after the visit Bishop Christopher said: “The small but resilient Christian community in Jordan has an honoured place in the nation with the Hashemite Royal Family taking the lead in promoting inter-religious dialogue and respect for religious minorities. During my visit, I had the joyful privilege of celebrating the eucharist at the Arab Evangelical Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Amman. Conversations after the service with the congregation, the parish council and the parish priest, Canon Faiq Haddad, impressed on me that this is a vibrant and flourishing church through its ministries and outreach.”

Upon return the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination Group issued a Communiqué, of which Bishop Christopher was a signatory.

Speaking in support of the Statement Bishop Christopher said: “The Communiqué commends the respect for human dignity which we witnessed in Jordan, contrasting ‘with the violations against human dignity increasing elsewhere in the Holy Land’. It recognises the need for vigilance and advocacy supported by prayer and pilgrimage in the promotion of peace and justice for all the peoples of the region.  Meeting with refugees from Iraq, many of whom had only left their homes in the last year or so, was a timely reminder, that despite the challenges of the war in Ukraine, the international community still needs to do more to support refugees in Jordan. It was heart-warming to see the level of hospitality and compassion provided by the local church and the wider community. There is much that we in the UK can learn from the way that Jordan assists those fleeing conflict and persecution even at times of immense economic challenge.”