As the Anglican Church of Canada prepares to observe its second annual Jerusalem Sunday, as a day set aside to learn about and build support for the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fred Hiltz and global relations director Andrea Mann are preparing for a journey to Israel, Palestine and Jordan. The aim is to deepen the partnership between the Canadian church and the diocese.
Hiltz and Mann will travel from March 4 to 16. This will be the primate’s first trip to Jordan. “We will have a full exposure to the parishes, the schools and to the health clinics and hospitals of the Episcopal Church in Jordan,” said Mann. “The purpose of the visit also is to continue to develop and deepen our analysis of issues pertaining to work for peace.” They hope to be able to meet with Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan.
The primate has also been invited to preach and to preside over the renewal of baptism vows in the Jordan River, the place where believers say Jesus was baptized.
While in Jerusalem, they hope to meet with both the representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, and the Canadian ambassador to Israel, “as part of the ongoing work to keep an open conversation with people who represent the Canadian government,” said Mann.
Canon John Organ, who has been serving as chaplain to Archbishop Dawani for a three-year term, will return to Canada in May, and Mann said she and Hiltz will meet with him and his wife, Irene, to hear about their ministry and “to begin to accompany them in their leave-taking and resettling here in Canada in the diocese of Ottawa.”
Archbishop Dawani has invited the Anglican Church of Canada to send another Canadian priest to succeed Organ. “We are going to have a conversation with him about that. We are considering it seriously,” said Mann, noting that Organ’s ministry there has been a “way of living into more fulsome and deep partnership so that we are more connected.”
Meanwhile, meeting at the national church offices in Toronto from Feb. 2 to 4, the advisory council for the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem worked on plans for this year’s Jerusalem Sunday celebration on May 17, the seventh Sunday of Easter, and for building the companions’ network throughout the country.
Council chair the Rev. Patricia Kirkpatrick said the companions were “very much impressed with” and want to build on the response from parishes that participated in the first Jerusalem Sunday last year. “That’s not to say that every parish took it on-or every diocese, for that matter-and so we’re looking to see that grow, but we were certainly very happy with the response,” she said in an interview with the Journal.
Mann said that evaluations from parishes that participated in Jerusalem Sunday last year suggested that the event should be “more intentional with asking for funds,” and have offering envelopes for ministry in the diocese of Jerusalem. Participating parishes also asked for more liturgical resources. In response, she said, special envelopes, bookmarks and other materials will be available upon request from the global relations office and will be mailed out to parishes that intend to observe Jerusalem Sunday this year.
Mann added that in early March, more liturgical resources, including the eucharist rite and prayers of the people used in the diocese of Jerusalem, will be added to the resources already available. Those resources include a prayer written by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and featured on the Jerusalem Sunday web page, which is part of the companions’ web hub on the church’s website.
Those looking to learn more about the ministries of the diocese of Jerusalem can find resources on Journey to Jerusalem Sunday, a multimedia web page produced by the Anglican Journal and Anglican Video in 2014. The diocese focuses on providing health, education and hospitality as an expression of faith in the midst of the region’s conflicts and hardships. Anglican Video staff travelled to the diocese to interview Archbishop Suheil Dawani and other clergy, as well as people working at the Ali Arab hospital in Gaza, the Princess Basma School, which serves children living with disabilities, and the Penman Clinic in Zababdeh. The Journal provided a timeline of the conflict in the Middle East and other stories offering context for understanding the challenges in the region.
The primate reported that the Anglican Church of Canada’s full communion partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, will also have a day of prayers for Jerusalem and the Holy Land on May 17.
Currently there are just over 100 companions, including individuals, parishes and dioceses. The military ordinariate is a member and a couple of ACW groups are companions, Mann added.
Kirkpatrick said the companions will work to build their network across the country and hope to find regional leaders who will help to better connect the organization. “There’s a phenomenal energy in terms of wanting to develop this…it’s just that you’ve got to keep that momentum going,” she said, adding that she is very grateful for the work of the previous chair, the Rev. Richard LeSueur, in building a solid foundation.
Mann added that the group hopes to be able to tell Archbishop Dawani and his wife, Shafeeqa, when they are guests at General Synod 2016 in Toronto, that every diocese and every cathedral have become companions.
For Jerusalem Sunday resources, please contact Claudia Alvarez, global relations program associate, at 416-924-9199 ext. 270 or email: [email protected]