This week we join together to pray for the Priests of the Diocese and for its people.

Fr Nael Abu Rahmoun, Vicar of Nazareth, Christ Anglican Church in the Diocese of Jerusalem writes:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Salaam Shalom and greetings to you all from the Land of the Holy One, as I greet you with the word “peace”, we continue to miss peace in the homeland of Jesus. We continue to witness massacres of innocents, killing of children, devastation and destruction in Gaza. Fear and insecurity in Israel as well as in the West Bank.

The Anglican/Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem covers five different countries in the Middle East; Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is the same Diocese but with different contexts. Try to imagine how all these countries including our Clergy, parishes and institutions are affected by the war on Gaza, south Israel, but also by the conflict escalation in South Lebanon and North of Israel. Many of our Clergy and congregations are very close to areas of war and conflict.

I am the Youth Ministry Advisor and Coordinator in this part of my Diocese (Palestine/Israel). I have been told by many university and college students, especially those who just started their first year of school, they were desperate and depressed. They have lost the excitement of taking a new step and still face many challenges. I encourage them to be patient and to think of young people of their age in Gaza.
In January we organized two youth gatherings one in Jerusalem and one in Nazareth, unfortunately young people from the West Bank couldn’t participate because they could not get entry permits. Sadly, it was impossible to gather there because of the situation.

While we continue to grieve and cry and call and pray for a ceasefire and the end of war and hatred, we should promote reconciliation and healing, to build and recover trust between the two nations, including religious leaders. This clearly will not be an easy work at all, but it is a sacred duty. There is no other way than love, reconciliation and acceptance of each other. We need to find more peacemakers and justice seekers and consider them as our partners, to renew the interfaith work, and try to be influencers. It is time for religions to be part of the solution and no more part of the conflict. I call to rediscover and see the image of God in the faces of each other, keeping in mind that everyone was created by God in His own image.

Please remember your sisters and brothers in Christ; the living stones of the homeland of Jesus, pray with and for us, visit us as soon as you can, don’t let us feel alone or forgotten.
My thoughts and heart are with the children, women and all innocent people, in Gaza, West Bank and Israel, the Anglican Al-Ahli Arab Hospital staff, all Christians who are taking shelters in the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, all people who lost their loved ones and still live and smell blood and death, with the traumatised and starving children. We must understand that war does not bring peace but more hatred. In war, no one wins, but it is everyone’s defeat.

The question to be asked is: “Will Christians continue to find hope and resilience for the future?” I think the people and Christians of Gaza are a school, as they teach us life, despite everything, they are the hope. I remember the words written three days before Christmas by Shady a Christian from Gaza: “We celebrate Christmas in a difficult and terrifying situation but, we have the joy of Christmas in our hearts”. These are words of a great witness of faith.

Let us continue to pray and love and to be the light for each other in the darkness and evil of war.

Third Sunday of Lent
The Cathedral and Churches in Jerusalem and the priests who serve there: Pray for Archbishop Hosam the Bishop of the Diocese and for St George’s his Cathedral Church. Pray too for The Revd Canon Dr Donald Binder who is Chaplain to the Archbishop and Pastor to the English-Speaking Congregation at St George’s and for The Revd Wadie Far who is Pastor to the Arabic-Speaking Congregation at the Cathedral and Vicar of St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Jerusalem.

Also in the Precincts of the Cathedral is St George’s College, Jerusalem, which is the Anglican pilgrimage centre in Jerusalem. The Dean of the College is The Revd Canon Richard Sewell who has been there since 2018. Prior to going to be the Dean of St George’s, Richard was Rector of Mortlake in the Diocese of Southwark.

Monday 4 March
Pray for the priests elsewhere in Israel: The Revd Fares Naoum, Rector of Emmanuel, Ramleh and St Peter, Jaffa; The Rev Hanna Dally, Rector, Holy Family, Reineh; The Revd Nael Abu Rahmoun, Rector of Christ Church, Nazareth; The Revd Canon Hatem Shehadeh, Rector, St John and St Luke, Haifa; The Revd Canon Fuad Dagher, Rector, St Paul, Shefa’amr; The Revd Emad Daibes, Rector, St Saviour, Acre, The Revd Bilal Habiby, Rector, Church of Our Savior, Kufr-Yasif; The Revd Hattim Jiryis, Priest-in-Charge, Christ the King, Tarshiha.

Tuesday 5 March
Pray for the priests in Palestine: The Revd Fadi Diab, Rector, St Andrew, Ramallah and St Peter, Birzeit; The Revd Jameel Maher Khader, Rector, St Philip, Nablus and The Good Shepherd, Rafidia and The Revd Saleem Dawani, Rector, St Matthew, Zababdeh.

Wednesday 6 March
Pray for the priests in Jordan: The Revd Canon Fa’eq Haddad, Pastor to the Arabic-Speaking Congregation and The Revd James Hornby, Pastor to the English-Speaking Congregation, The Redeemer Church, Jabal Amman; The Revd George Al-Kopti, Rector, St Paul, Ashrafiyeh and St Luke, Marka; The Revd Dr Khalid Friej Rector St Paul, Theodore Schneller Chapel, Marka and Savior Church, Zarka; The Revd Jamil Khadir, The Good Shepherd Church, Salt; The Revd Canon Samir Esaid, Rector, The Virgin Mary Episcopal Church, Irbid and The Revd Ibrahim Nairoz, Rector, St John the Baptist, Husun. Pray too for St. Peter’s & St. Paul’s Church, Aqaba which is in vacancy.

Thursday 7 March
Pray for the Archdeacon in Lebanon and Syria: The Venerable Imad Zoorob, who is the priest at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beirut, Lebanon and All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Damascus, Syria.

Friday 8 March
Pray for the schools, hospitals and other projects: Pray for the schools, hospitals and other projects The Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle east helps to fund and sustain. Pray for protection for them, for safety and that they may be able to continue to operate.

Saturday 9 March
Continue to pray for peace with justice in the Diocese and the region: Pray for the people in the churches there, for the living stones, who keep Christianity alive in the region. Pray especially for Archbishop Hosam for strength and safety as he seeks to work with others to bring peace and justice.

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