Episcopalians invited to learn about the remarkable witness of Holy Land Christians with Bearing Witness

American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
Posted Jun 27, 2023

Bearing Witness participants will meet unforgettable people from across the Holy Land.

Since 1988, through General Convention resolutions, the Episcopal Church has repeatedly called on its members to learn more about the remarkable Christian witness in the Holy Land and the humanitarian ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Three years in the making, a dynamic education program called Bearing Witness: A Journey with Holy Land Christians is now ready. This new adult curriculum developed by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) is a free, five-session video-based education program that provides church communities and faith-based organizations with the biblical basis, the inspiration, and the tools to walk together with Christians in the Holy Land.

The Most Rev. Hosam Naoum, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, recently said, “Bearing Witness is one of the greatest gifts the American Friends will offer our leaders, our churches, and the people of the Episcopal Church and beyond. It speaks to the heart.”

He added, “Bearing Witness speaks about the witness of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem as it is without any cosmetics or accessories. It tells the story of the institutions and the witness of the Diocese of Jerusalem as it is seen by the pilgrims who visit us. When people participate in Bearing Witness and see the videos, they will start putting faces to names. They will start to see the kind of witness the Diocese of Jerusalem does on the ground on behalf of the body of Christ and our siblings of all faiths in the land where it all happened.”

Each of the five program sessions is grounded in a Gospel passage about a theme of Jesus’s ministry, with videos featuring a Palestinian or American priest reflecting on the scripture. Other videos for each session were filmed on location in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Israel; they illuminate the challenges of everyday life in the Holy Land and how Diocese of Jerusalem ministries respond to the needs of people of all religions, ethnicities, and economic circumstances. Bearing Witness participants will meet 25 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders as well as students, teachers, and others served by the institutions.

Each of the five sessions explores a theme of Jesus’s ministry:

Session 1: Belonging
Session 2: Healing
Session 3: Teaching
Session 4: Breaking Barriers
Session 5: Building Hope

Free, downloadable guides include all churches need to offer this small group program including a “master” Facilitator Program Guide that provides guidance for creating a learning environment for your session, as well as a companion guide for participants, session guides for facilitators and participants, and many additional resources. AFEDJ offers training and on-going support for facilitators.

All materials and video may be found at www.afedj.org/bearingwitness

Founded in 1988 at the time of the first Intifada, American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) is dedicated to raising financial support for the diocese’s humanitarian ministries – schools, hospitals, and centers for children with disabilities – in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon and raising awareness about these powerful examples of Christian Witness in the Holy Land. A nonpolitical, nonsectarian 501(c)3 organization, AFEDJ’s mission is to transform the lives of vulnerable and displaced people in the region. The values of equity, justice, and respect for the dignity of all are at the heart of their efforts. Learn more at www.afedj.org

Bearing Witness was produced in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the Episcopal Church Standing Commission on World Mission, Jerusalem Peacebuilders, and with financial support from the Constable Fund of the Episcopal Church, Carol and David Myers, and anonymous donors.

Watch the introductory video, “Welcome to Bearing Witness” at https://vimeo.com/795725502.