The Middle East Network maintains relationships with churches, medical facilities and educational institutions in the countries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which comprises Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The persecution of Christians in Middle East countries is an active concern, and the long history of tensions between Muslims and Christians in the Middle East has led to what the archbishop of Canterbury has described as “a state of emergency.”
The Middle East Network seeks to bring together Episcopalians in the Diocese of Massachusetts to reaffirm the commitment to working for peace and justice in the Middle East through our relationship of 20 years with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
This partnership has included support through prayer, study and action. The Middle East Network has hosted the bishop of Jerusalem, the Right Rev. Suheil Dawani, at Diocesan Convention; gone on mission pilgrimages to the Holy Land; and helped fund construction and renovation projects in the Diocese of Jerusalem. Diocesan Convention has overwhelmingly passed several resolutions calling us in Massachusetts to strengthen our relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem.
The mission of the Middle East Network is to:
• Collaborate with the leadership of the Diocese of Jerusalem to strengthen the relationship between the two dioceses
• Develop guidelines for partnership relations between the congregations in the Diocese of Massachusetts with congregations and institutions in the Diocese of Jerusalem
• Assist in establishing and maintaining these partnerships
• Provide educational opportunities for members of the congregations in the Diocese of Massachusetts including book groups, speakers and pilgrimages
• Provide a framework for pilgrimages and information for journeys to the Holy Land and assist in developing effective follow-up for the participants
• Establish and maintain dialogue between Diocese of Massachusetts leaders and Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in eastern Massachusetts and seek to arrive at a shared understanding of points of view
• Promote and encourage financial support for the humanitarian work of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its institutions so that it may better serve the needs of all people
The following congregations maintain relationships in the Middle East. Collaborative partners from the Diocese of Massachusetts are listed below the lead grant recipient. These partnerships have led to partner-initiated projects focused not only on building relationships and sharing faith, but also on supporting and improving access to education.
|St. John's Church, Beverly Farms||Jissr Shugur Camp, Syria||NuDay Syria|
|St. Peter's Church, Cambridge, St. Luke's Church, Fall River, St. Andrew's Church, Hanover||Jerusalem||St. George's College, Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem|
In addition, the following congregations are represented on the Middle East Network: Christ Church, Andover; St. Peter's Church, Beverly; Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester; Church of Our Saviour, Brookline; Church of the Good Shepherd, Watertown; Emmanuel Church, Boston; and Grace Church, Salem.
By listening, learning and visiting as pilgrims, members of the Middle East Network have provided witness and given voice to our friends in the Diocese of Jerusalem. Special events have been planned to hear speakers, meet visitors and keep abreast of the situation in this part of the world. Recently, members have learned more of the refugee crisis from Syria, and have organized methods and opportunities to support and accompany those that make it to our Commonwealth. Click here to read the resolution, adopted at the 2015 Convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts.
For more information, e-mail Laura Walta at email@example.com or Deacon Holly Hartman at firstname.lastname@example.org.