Andrea Mann, global relations director at the Anglican Church of Canada, took some time during her presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS) Nov. 15 to talk about how Jerusalem Sunday has furthered the Canadian church’s commitment to building a strong relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Mann explained that one of the main goals in developing closer ties with Jerusalem was to build a relationship that would be “strong and sustainable.” Being in solidarity with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and with ecumenical partners in Canada and in the Middle East for “peace with justice in Israel and Palestine” was also a key priority, as was making the most of this relationship as a way of developing more meaningful connections with Canadian Jewish and Muslim communities.
Mann noted that while there have been initiatives underway to draw these two parts of the Anglican Communion closer together for several years now, one of the most significant recent developments was the first celebration of Jerusalem Sunday, in June 2014.
Jerusalem Sunday, an initiative created to raise awareness and support for the Diocese of Jerusalem among Canadian Anglicans, was observed across the country, and while it was difficult to know exactly how many individuals and parishes had participated, Mann noted that 32 parishes, entities and individuals raised $7,690 for the Penman Medical Clinic in the West Bank. A ministry of the Jerusalem diocese, the clinic provides medical supplies and diagnostic testing that serves about 4,000 people in Zababdeh, a majority Palestinian Christian town in the northern West Bank.
In 2015, Jerusalem Sunday (which is the seventh Sunday after Easter) will fall on May 17, and Mann noted that one of the repeated requests she has received was for “a greater breadth and depth and number of liturgical resources, including a full eucharist service.” There were also requests for prayers from Jewish and Muslim faith traditions, hymns in Arabic and Sunday school resources.
In addition to this, the partners in mission co-ordinating committee is working to create an online resource to help people think about the differences between “religious tourism and authentic pilgrimage.”
Mann acknowledged how important Jerusalem Sunday and the building of a strong relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem are in light of the conflict that broke out in Gaza over the summer, which, according to the United Nations Reliefs and Works agency, has killed over 2,000 people and left more than 65,000 without homes.
Mann’s presentation to CoGS also covered some of the other work that is being done by the global relations office to assess how the companion diocese relationships are working, and to promote Anglican participation in intercultural ministry training programs.