The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is home to about 7000 Anglicans worshiping within twenty-eight different congregations. It is also responsible for more than thirty institutions, including hospitals, schools, clinics, rehabilitation centers, guesthouses, and retirement homes. Archbishop Hosam oversees all of these parishes and institutions, which are scattered across five separate countries or territories: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. This geographic spread adds innumerable complications to the work of the Diocese due to the many borders, checkpoints, and national governments involved. In particular, the divergent laws and politics of each region make the administration of these ministries exceedingly challenging.
Despite these difficulties, the Diocese responds actively to the need for healthcare and education in areas where many cannot afford it, making no distinction between religion, ethnicity, or gender. The Diocese especially considers education for the next generation of leaders to be a vital bridge-building contribution that helps bring stability to an otherwise troubled region. Thus, our diocesan schools not only teach students academic and vocational skills, but also seek to engender within them a spirit of peace, respect, and cooperation—all based upon Christian values. In so doing, the Diocese offers a voice of moderation and reconciliation to our interfaith neighbors.
Beyond our parish and institutional work, the Diocese of Jerusalem also sponsors a number of other ministries. The Diocesan Department for Peace, Reconciliation, and Interfaith Dialogue, for instance, was established in 2007. It encourages participation in the Jerusalem Peacebuilders program and supports other interfaith peace-building efforts.
In another field, our Women’s Ministry brings diocesan women together in a regular series of meetings and biannual conferences with the aim of strengthening relationships, increasing skills, and building community. In yet another area, our Diocesan guesthouses extend our ministry of hospitality to pilgrims and other visitors.
Because of political strife and lack of economic opportunity, the Christian population west of the Jordan river has dwindled from more than 25% a century ago to less than 2% today. In the face of this diminishing Christian presence, our diocesan ministries sustain and strengthen our witness, shining the light of Christ into areas of darkness, and offering hope to those otherwise living in despair.