I write about an important matter pertaining to the Anglican Church of Canada’s relationship with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. At the meeting of the Council of General Synod held in November 2011, it approved the Terms of Reference for the establishment of Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
In March, our Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz wrote to the House of Bishops commending a Pastoral Letter to be shared with all parishes, ideally on March 25, 2012. I apologize for not having made this letter available to you for the suggested date but strongly commend it to you now for your prayerful and thoughtful consideration. It is hoped that by Pentecost all members of our Canadian Anglican family would have acted on the invitation to become members of the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
A number of us have had the good fortune to visit the Holy Land. Some of us have had the privilege of meeting the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, either when he attended our General Synod in Halifax or when visiting Jerusalem. Some of us have had the distinct opportunity of being led by the Rev. John Peterson on the Stations of the Cross, walking places where it is believed Jesus stopped along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. Any of us who have been to Jerusalem can speak about how our lives and ministry have been changed by the experience.
The Diocese of Jerusalem, which includes Palestine and Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, has a bishop, clergy and people who show deep faith and profound commitment to being witnesses to the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Risen, under very challenging, at times humiliating and difficult circumstances, remaining steadfast in their mission and ministry.
Kindly make the Primate’s Pastoral letter available to all your people as best as you are able. It does not have to be read out but we must give every Anglican the opportunity to consider the invitation to become members of the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.