Each year, on June 22, the Anglican Cycle of Prayer calls for prayers for the Diocese of Jerusalem.
This year American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) is naming the third Sunday of Pentecost, June 21 – the Sunday closest to the appointed day – as “Jerusalem Sunday” to encourage Episcopalians to remember the Holy Land Christians and the transformative humanitarian ministries they freely offer their neighbors across Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.
As Christians enter the season of Pentecost, we mark and remember the first Christians who were present when the gift of the Holy Spirit moved among the followers of Jesus.
The descendants of those early Christians in the Holy Land remain followers of Jesus today. Their Christian witness across the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is embodied in the ministries of charitable hospitals, schools for impoverished students, and centers for children with disabilities. On each visit to a diocesan institution, the leaders repeatedly say to visitors, “Keep us in your prayers. Please do not forget us.”
Bishop Greg Rickel, AFEDJ Chair and Bishop of the Diocese of Olympia, explains the rationale for a designated day, “Jerusalem Sunday and the season of Pentecost offer the perfect opportunity to move beyond the headlines and to help Episcopalians across the Church learn more about the lives and ministries of Christians in the Holy Land.”
To help the Diocese’s American friends mark this day, AFEDJ has created a number of resources to help Episcopalians and preachers across the Episcopal Church turn their gaze eastward toward Jerusalem.
AFEDJ’s website offers prayers that can be shared with church members and personal, pilgrim stories from AFEDJ trustees and Diocese of Jerusalem leaders that can be used by preachers in their sermons on June 21. A flyer and a social media post to share within congregations and wider networks are also available for download.
Bishop Rickel adds, “The deep faith of our sisters and brothers in the region – lived out with great hope amidst the daily challenges – is a powerful witness to us all. Jerusalem Sunday creates a space in the Episcopal Church for us to honor, pray for, and remember that abiding witness.”
On June 21, AFEDJ invites Episcopalians to help keep our promise to the Christians in the Diocese of Jerusalem that we will remember them in prayer and by support for their remarkable ministries.
Learn more about the ministries and people of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem at www.afedj.org.