Before I begin on this week’s topic, I’d like to follow-up on last week’s blog and the resolution to change Native American-named sports teams. If you’ve been following our national news, you may have already heard this: the US Patent Office has canceled the trademark of the NFL team whose home is in our nation’s capital. Though this ruling is likely to be appealed, for now it demonstrates the changing tide of American sentiment on this issue. Perhaps with continued pressure, we can convince team owner Daniel Snyder to change the name to one that demonstrates respect. Here’s a link to an article from ESPN on the patent office ruling – http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11102096/us-patent-office-cancels-washington-redskins-trademark I’d really love to think that this is all because the Nuts and Bolts Blog has been highlighting this issue but I’m too honest for that. However, it does show that we are on the cutting edge of issues affecting the respect and dignity of all human beings. That’s right where we should be!
This week, I’d like us to look at another resolution passed by the recent meeting of the Executive Council of the Church: Resolution A&N 029 which invites all Episcopalians to join our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church in Canada in observing the Seventh Sunday after Easter (the Sunday after Ascension Day) as Jerusalem Sunday. The article from the Episcopal News Service tells us that we might “give special attention to the spiritual heritage of all Christians in the land of Our Lord’s birth, death, and resurrection, and the continuing witness in our day of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, and commit to learning about the role of the Diocese of Jerusalem and its affiliated institutions in providing healthcare, education, and other vital social services to the communities of the Holy Land, and to supporting the ministry of those institutions.” The Executive Council desires to express “its solidarity with all Israelis, Palestinians, and others around the world working for peace in the land called holy by all the children of Abraham.”
Here’s the link to the Diocese of Jerusalem’s webpage – http://www.j-diocese.org/index.php You’ll find lots of good information about this diocese that spans 5 countries (Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon) and some 30 parishes. In light of the resolution passed by Executive Council, let me suggest that you check out their sections on Healthcare, Education and Interfaith Ministries. We have highlighted their work at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in previous blogs. Their website can provide updates on the status of this important health care project. There is also a Facebook group for the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (https://www.facebook.com/afedj) which posts relevant news items (just like OUR Facebook page!) and their website – http://www.afedj.org/
Our Presiding Bishop Katharine welcomed Bishop Suheil Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem to our General Convention in 2012, where she said:
“We hope that we can encourage this church to be supportive of the Bishop of Jerusalem in his very difficult ministry there. We are searching for a just solution for all people there and we continue to believe that that’s about a two-state solution, that it’s about all of the people of the land of the holy one….Our job is to be supportive and encouraging for people who are living on the ground there. I really crave your support in that direction. I crave your prayers and support for the ministry of the Diocese of Jerusalem.”
The challenge for us know is to learn all we can so that we might be helpful in communicating our support – and to remember to celebrate this Sunday next year!
Let us pray together:
O God, We give thanks that your dear Son has gathered us in the embrace of his redeeming love and sent us to make that love known to the ends of the earth.
We pray your continued blessings on the steadfast witness of the Church in Jerusalem and throughout the Middle East.
Give your deep joy to those who welcome the pilgrims seeking to know this land and its many peoples.
Grace those who proclaim the gospel.
Guide all who teach a new generation of young people.
Draw near to those who are sick and bless those who tend them.
Sustain the hope of all who long and labor for a just and lasting peace in the land of The Holy One.
And may the companions of Jerusalem be many and faithful.
We pray in the name of our merciful Savior, Friend, and Brother, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican church of Canada)
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council