Accompanying our Episcopal Sisters and Brothers in the Holy Land

RESOLUTION NO. 6

ACCOMPANYING OUR EPISCOPAL SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN THE HOLY LAND

Resolved, That the 167th Convention of the Diocese of California, in order to implement the principles of Resolution 2015-C018 of the 78th General Convention expressing solidarity with the Christians in Israel and the Occupied Territories and urging supportive action toward them and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, does hereby 

  1. Encourage congregations, deaneries, and this Diocese to find ways to support the humanitarian work of the Diocese of Jerusalem through the raising of funds to be sent through American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem;
  2. Urge congregations to study the issues facing the peoples of the Holy Land, particularly those of our Episcopal brothers and sisters;
  3. Encourage this Diocese, its youth ministries, and its congregations to consider pilgrimages to the Holy Land; and
  4. Urge all to participate in the Presiding Bishop’s Good Friday Offering, which provides financial support for Anglican ministries throughout the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Explanation: The population of our Christian brothers and sisters of the Holy Land (the “living stones” of our faith) has diminished from 9.5 % in 1922 to approximately 1% in 2015 and continues to decline. Of those remaining Christians, about 7000 are Palestinian Anglicans. While the Palestinian Christians who remain in Israel/Palestine as a group are well educated and have provided some of the strongest leadership in the quest for peace, the conditions under which they continue to live make it increasingly difficult to remain in the area.

As we all work towards a just peace in the Holy Land, the Christian presence needs to be stabilized. The Diocese of Jerusalem teaches, heals, and employs hundreds in good paying jobs. As General Convention has found (Res. 2015-C018), it deserves our support. 

We in this Diocese must act in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land in their valiant effort to remain as living witnesses to the living Christ and his Resurrection by educating ourselves to the realities of their everyday lives; supporting the monumental amount of humanitarian aid they provide through educational services, health care and ministries for women, children and youth as well as interfaith dialogues with people of every faith in the Holy Land and by providing financial aid through the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ).

AFEDJ, founded in 1987 and devoted to equity, respect, and human dignity, acts as a partner with the Diocese of Jerusalem by helping to increase the latter’s capacity to teach and heal. AFEDJ promotes and raises program and infrastructure funds for the humanitarian work of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its institutions so it may better serve the needs of all people in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Israel. AFEDJ is. More information about AFEDJ is available at www.afedj.org.

Submitted by: Christopher J. Hayes, Chancellor of the Diocese and board member, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; the Rev. Anne Cox Bailey, Rector, St. Luke’s, Walnut Creek; the Rev. Melanie Donahoe, Rector, Epiphany, San Carlos; the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor, Church Divinity School of the Pacific*; the Rev. Thomas Skillings, Rector, St. Paul’s, Burlingame; the Rev. Bruce Smith, Rector, Resurrection, Pleasant Hill; the Rev. Fran Tornquist, Assisting Priest, Transfiguration, San Mateo; the Rev. Matthew Woodward, Rector, Transfiguration, San Mateo;  the Rev. Davidson Bidwell-Waite, Faith in Action*. Contact: Christopher J. Hayes (christopher.hayes@borowsky.com). 

Endorsed by: American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (www.afedj.org); Janet Chisholm, Delegate, All Souls, Berkeley, past chair, National Episcopal Peace Fellowship,* and past Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation*; the Rev. Vicki Gray, Deacon, Christ the Lord, Pinole; the Rev. David Ota, Rector, St. Ambrose, Foster City; the Rev. Kate Salinaro, Deacon, Christ the Lord, Pinole; the Rev. Margaret Trezevant, Deacon, St. Luke’s, San Francisco.

* Organizational affiliation listed for identification purposes only

Comments

I approve of this Resolution calling for our support of the Episcopal diocese of Jerusalem through fundraising, education, and pilgrimages.

As a long-time member of and contributor to the AFEDJ, I heartily endorse this resolution.

I, too, urge study, pilgrimage...and action to improve the situation of our Christian brothers and sisters and all Palestinians are struggling with under Israeli occupation.

In terms of study, parishes might consider obtaining and using the six-week course "Steadfast Hope" produced by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship (epf.org). It costs $5 and comes with a DVD and curriculum guide.

In terms of pilgrimage, I urge parishes and individuals to seek out alternative travel opportunities that include not only all the our holy sites, but also divided, segregated Hebron; refugee camps like Balata and Aida; neighborhoods in East Jerusalem like Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, where Palestinians are being dispossessed to make room for settlers; Bedouin villages in the South Hebron Hills and the Negev that have been repeatedly demolished; and more than the usual few hours in Bethlehem that is being encircled by Israeli settlements and economically strangled. A list of such opportunities can be found on the website of the Friends of Sabeel North America (fosna.org). Sabeel (The Way), by the way, is a Palestinian Christian organization founded by The Rev. Naim Ateek, a CDSP graduate.

Having studied the situation in the Holy Land and having experienced the daily realities faced by Palestinians on the other side of the Wall, you will better understand why Palestinian Christians, in their Kairos Document of 2009, have called upon us to apply the sort of economic pressure that will be needed to bring about an end to the occupation.

And, of course, contribute to AFEDJ.

Shalom. Saleem.

What about Syria? Not only our Christian brothers and sisters, but people of all faiths and all ages -- infants and elderly -- are having their lives destroyed. What can we do for them?

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