Presiding Bishop encourages support of Middle East churches through Good Friday Offering
"This offering expresses our own commitment to walk with the church of Jerusalem and the Middle East" as it continues to work toward justice, reconciliation, and peace, wrote Jefferts Schori. "Through our support of these churches we are helping to realize God's vision of shalom."
In a letter to bishops asking for their support of the Good Friday Offering, Jefferts Schori emphasized the broad scope of ministry in the Middle East church.
"The Anglican presence in the Middle East extends far beyond the national borders of Israel/Palestine," she wrote. "Anglicans are working and witnessing throughout the Gulf States, in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Cyprus, across the Mediterranean coast of Africa from Egypt to Algeria, and from Iraq to Ethiopia. The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East strives to be a voice of reconciliation among the religions, and its institutions continue their ministries of compassion, healing, and education, and they serve all the dispossessed and disheartened, whatever their faith tradition."
The province of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East includes the Diocese of Jerusalem -- which is composed of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon -- and the dioceses of Egypt and North Africa, Cyprus and the Gulf, and Iran. It is one of the largest provinces geographically and one of the smallest in membership in the Anglican Communion, as it ministers in an area where most people belong to other faiths, and most members of the dwindling Christian community are Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic. But the Episcopal/Anglican dioceses maintain many social service institutions, including schools, hospitals and orphanages that serve all residents of the area.
The Good Friday Offering began in 1922 after General Convention directed that offerings given that day in congregations of the Episcopal Church be designated for the church in the Middle East.
The Presiding Bishop's letter was sent to all congregations with a poster, a bulletin shell (in English and Spanish) and offering envelopes. The poster and bulletin shell are available for download here and all materials may be ordered from Episcopal Books and Resources (800-903-5544).» Respond to this article