Canada primate invites Anglicans to become companions to Jerusalem

By Anglican Journal staff
Posted Apr 20, 2012

[Anglican Journal] Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has unveiled a new venture to strengthen ties between the Anglican Church of Canada and the diocese of Jerusalem.

In a Lenten pastoral letter, the primate invited Anglicans across Canada to join–as individuals, parishes or dioceses–the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. The new organization is intended to be a group “drawn together in common concern and support for the well-being of the church” in the Holy Land.

The companions will work to promote awareness of the diocese and its ministries, its struggles to work within the region’s conflicts, and its commitment to co-operative ecumenical initiatives for reconciliation, Hiltz wrote.

Working with Anglican bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, the primate said the group will fund specific ministries and new initiatives in housing, health care and education. The companions will also help people who want to serve as volunteers in mission find opportunities. They will also support advocacy for a lasting peace in the region.

It is Hiltz’ hope that membership will grow quickly, with every bishop becoming a companion before Pentecost. He asked that bishops encourage their dioceses and parishes to join as well.

The new organization follows a resolution from General Synod 2010 in Halifax that called for ties with the diocese to be built and strengthened. Since that time, the Rev. Maj. John Organ, a Canadian, has been appointed as the next chaplain to Bishop Suheil. The dioceses of Ottawa and Jerusalem are also establishing a companion relationship.

“In my heart I am convinced that this companionship is of Christ’s will and blessing,” the Primate concluded. “In every account of his appearing to the disciples after The Resurrection there is a drawing near, and a walking with, a companionship that is beautiful and abiding. May it be so for us and for our brothers and sisters in the diocese of Jerusalem.”


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  1. This a momentous decision by the CANADIAN church to uphold and strengthen its existing relationship with JERUSALEM as a “companion” National Church – beyond its support over the years in the Primates Fund for World Relief and Development , its World Mission units, individual dioceses and congregations. Archbishop Hiltz’s leadership as the Primate – whose visits since becoming the Primate to Jerusalem opened new avenues of partnerships and sharing – along with Bishop Suheil Dawani’s energetic endeavors to stem the outflow emigration of the historic and indigenous Christian community from the Holy Land through the ongoing support – in country – and with ecumenical and interfaith partners, in the multiple diocesan institutions – schools, hospitals, social services educational and family assistance at a most complex time in the Holy Land, will surely bear fruit in the Land of the Holy One.

    The Episcopal Church has had an active partnership relationship with Jerusalem since the 1920’s through the Good Friday Offering, in the 1980’s in the Washington Office, and more recently in several Companion Dioceses, the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the United Thank Offering and individual congregations with Presiding Bishop Katharine earnestly seeking to strengthen and uphold this historic relationship at a critical time in the Middle East.

    Certainly, both the Canadian and American Churches in concert, will surely be a living presence expressive of the deep concern and active partnership support of the North American Faith communities, along with other Anglican Provinces alongside Ecumenical and Interfaith initiatives, for the well being of all of God’s people among the three Abrahamic Faiths in the Holy Land

    A Middle East Partnership Officer was appointed more recently, the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, who had served for three years until 2011 as the Chaplain to Bishop Dawani. And, as some who will read this will remember, I had also served as a volunteer TEC Missioner as the Special Assistant to Bishop Dawani during the first two years of his incumbency as the Diocesan – the Bishop and his family being longtime close friends.

    Bishop and Mrs. Dawani were honored guests recently in both Los Angeles and New York City, and many in the Church will look forward to their being at the Indianapolis General Convention in July, in the same spirit of the warm and hospitable familial welcome they had enjoyed at the Anaheim General Convention three years ago as the Guests of PB Katharine and the House of Bishops, Bishop Bruno and the Diocese of Angeles and the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem. Bishop Dawani since taking office as the diocesan has sought earnestly to strengthen the partnership in the bonds of unity and service with a good portion of the Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners across a wide spectrum of the global Christian Community. His untiring and prayerful endeavors is to seek to insure the safeguarding and well being of the historic Christian presence remains as a viable indigenous reality in its servanthood, witness, and stewardship.

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