On June 1, Canadian Anglicans will observe Jerusalem Sunday for the first time.
The new annual observance comes from General Synod’s 2013 resolution to set aside the seventh Sunday of Easter, commonly known as the Sunday after the Ascension, as a day to learn about the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. A special collection will also be requested for that diocese’s ministries in education, reconciliation, health care and hospitality.
“The Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of Jerusalem have been companions in mission for many years,” explained Andrea Mann, global relations director. “Jerusalem Sunday is intended to lift up this relationship and celebrate the ‘living stones’ of the diocese-Arab Christians and others serving in ministries of hospitality, education, health care and reconciliation in Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.”
Jerusalem Sunday is also important because “Jerusalem is a place of deep significance in the Christian story and in our Christian faith, historically and right up to today,” said Mann.
Many Canadian Anglicans visit Jerusalem; they listen about Jerusalem from Sunday to Sunday throughout the year, and others attend courses at the diocesan-run St. George’s College, Mann said. “There is already, and has been and will continue to be, a personal connection between Canadian Anglicans, between parishes, between dioceses and the [Diocese of] Jerusalem.”
But she noted that while the range and depth of connection are increasing, “we might as Canadian Anglicans visit Jerusalem, the Holy Land, on a tour and never encounter a Palestinian Christian, never visit the Diocese of Jerusalem knowingly…”
At the 2013 General Synod, the Canadian church also passed a resolution on peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, which commits Canadian Anglicans to educate themselves more deeply about the issue, to explore and challenge theories and beliefs such as Christian Zionism, anti-Semitism, theories denying the right of Israel to exist, Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiments.
Jerusalem Sunday observance offers a tangible expression of the Anglican church’s support for its companion relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem, Mann added.
The primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, visits the Diocese of Jerusalem at the invitation of Bishop Suheil Dawani. A commitment is made to renew and strengthen the relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
Bishop Dawani and his wife, Shafeeqa, attend the General Synod in Halifax as guests of the primate; they speak about the “life, witness and context” of the diocese. The bishop urges Anglicans to be a bridge between Muslims and Jews.
General Synod passes a resolution to strengthen the church’s partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem through regular prayers and the designation of one Sunday annually for special prayers, education about the roots of conflict in the Middle East, the formation of a national Companions of Jerusalem network, broadening the profile of St. George’s College, financial support for ministries, providing resources for authentic pilgrimage and encouraging connections through companion relationships.
The Anglican Church of Canada offers support to Bishop Dawani in appealing the State of Israel’s rejected application for Temporary Residence Permits for himself, his wife and youngest daughter.
A delegation led by Bishop John Chapman, diocese of Ottawa, visits the Diocese of Jerusalem.
Bishops Chapman and Dasani sign a Covenant of Companionship.
The Council of General Synod, the church’s governing body in between national meetings of General Synod, approves terms of reference for the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, a voluntary body that will support the ministry of Episcopalians in the Holy Land.
In April, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon reiterates that all settlement activity is illegal, in response to renewed construction of Israeli settlement outposts.
National leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada visit counterparts in Jerusalem to discuss full communion in the Middle East.
The Rev. John Organ, military chaplain (ret.), is posted as bishop’s chaplain for the Diocese of Jerusalem, at the request of Bishop Dawani.
Staff visit Jerusalem, Palestine and Israel regions of the diocese to attend synod, confirm mission priorities for financial assistance and discuss terms of a joint ministry agreement.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Richard LeSueur meets with Bishop Dawani and the bishop’s chaplain, the Rev. Canon John Organ, on behalf of the Companions of Jerusalem.
General Synod passes a resolution to observe the seventh Sunday of Easter as Jerusalem Sunday.
General Synod passes a resolution on peace and justice in Palestine and Israel, which commits Canadian Anglicans to educate themselves more deeply about the issue, to explore and challenge theologies and beliefs such as Christian Zionism, anti-Semitism, theories denying the right of Israel to exist, Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiments.
Bishop Dawani and Bishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sign a joint ministry agreement to enable transfer of church funds raised in support of the work of the Jerusalem diocese.
Bishop and Mrs. Dawani visit the diocese of Ottawa and meet with Canadian government leaders, the Office of Religious Freedom, the Israeli Ambassador to Canada and its staff, and the Palestinian Delegation to Canada.
Companions of Jerusalem and the Resources for Mission department send $15,000 to the diocese to support purchase of diagnostic equipment, consultation room furniture and medical supplies at the Penman Clinic, West Bank.
Companions of Jerusalem Advisory Council meets to examine and plan future direction for a broader national partnership with the Diocese of Jerusalem.
Anglican parishes across Canada to celebrate inaugural Jerusalem Sunday.