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Archbishop of Canterbury launches appeal for Holy Land Christians

[Episcopal News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on July 12 launched an appeal for funds to help sustain Christian communities in the Holy Land, according to a press release from Lambeth Palace.

"I returned from a visit to the Holy Land last year with a very, very strong sense that we had to do more to express our solidarity with the Christian communities there ... We know our brothers and sisters there are suffering; and we don't always ask ourselves often enough what our response needs to be," said Williams in launching the appeal at the Church of England's General Synod.

The release says that Williams hopes that Anglicans and others will "give generously to help build a fund from which community projects could be supported – projects which would contribute to the sustainability of the most vulnerable Christian communities, especially on the West Bank."

Williams and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols are jointly hosting a conference on Christians in the Holy land July 18-19 at Lambeth Palace.

"The rate of emigration from Christian populations in the Holy Land has been growing steadily for a long time," said Williams in a video explaining the purpose of the conference.

"People are leaving, Christians are leaving, and we want to say that the Christian presence in the Holy Land is important to its balance … not just its historical reality, but to its present and future viability," said Nichols.

Anglicans in the Holy Land are served by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which includes 27 parishes and supports 33 institutions throughout Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

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