Friday, April 22, 2011

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

It is customary for Episcopalians to send our Good Friday offerings to the Diocese of Jerusalem, a custom I am proud to say that St. Francis Church honors. That custom, however, became more important and more real to me when I spent some time in that diocese, and prayed in that cathedral, just over a year ago. While there I was privileged to meet Bishop Suheil Dawani, shown above.

For those who are not aware, Bishop Suheil, a Palestinian, has been denied a residency permit by the Israeli government. He has been accused of selling Jewish lands to Palestinians but no evidence has been offered and Bishop Suheil has been denied his day in court. It's been handled bureaucratically; in denying him his permit he cannot do his job. This is not a new thing, but a fact of life, for Palestinians from all walks of life. It is never right, but it seems particularly egregious in this instance. There is a good article on this subject on the website of Episcopal News Service. I encourage you to pray for the Church in Jerusalem, where it is becoming more and more difficult for Christians to live--at least mainline Christians. Perhaps one of the most important things I learned from my time in the Holy Land is that the extremists seem to dominate the conversation on both sides. Historically Christians in general, and Episcopalians in particular, have helped to provide a moderating influence by building trust and working for peace. I hope that we can spread the word about what is happening; I've heard nothing at all about this from the mainstream media. (Too busy covering royal weddings I guess.)

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