Ecumenical Ministries among Christians in the Holy Land
Archbishop Hosam and the Diocese of Jerusalem are constantly engaged in ecumenical efforts with neighboring churches and international partners. While our local clergy work with other Christian churches to provide programs for youth and adults in their cities and towns, Archbishop Hosam meets regularly with the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and ecumenical leaders in partnership with the ministry of the Diocese.
Ecumenical efforts result in peacemaking dialogue as well as scout programs, after school activities, adult gathering, Bible studies and community outreach. These programs are vital for affirming the Christian faith of the remaining Christians who live, learn, and work in the predominately Muslim and Jewish cultures of the region.
As member of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, which is an interfaith group composed of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders from the Holy Land, Archbishop Hosam has participated in significant interfaith meetings, aimed at furthering the cause of Arab/Israeli peace.
Throughout these meetings, Archbishop Hosam met with U.S. religious leaders, and members and staff of the House and Senate. The Council, made up of 15 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders of the Holy Land, is engaged in peace-building initiatives designed to decrease violence in the region and create an open dialogue for peace.
Upon their arrival in the United States, the Council issued a statement listing six areas on which they would work together, including efforts to secure open access to the Old City of Jerusalem for all communities, and seek a common vision for the city of Jerusalem which all three faiths regard as holy.
Connections for Peace
Along with the establishment of Kids4Peace, other projects have also been developed across the Diocese.
Our parish in Zebabdeh (St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church) has established the Zebabdeh Youth Group for Peace and Reconciliation to explore a sense of identity for young people, in the context of a shrinking Christian community in the Holy Land, by connecting with students abroad and in their own community.
Various trips have taken place to encourage a sense of connection with other communities. Sixteen young people from the village of Zebabdeh went to Ireland to connect and make friends with sixteen young Irish people from Ballinteer Community School in Dublin.
As well as learning about the society of Ireland, through music, film, and visits to places of historical and cultural interest, the group, based at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, engaged in the process of creating, exchanging, and exhibiting a scrapbook on their faith and action in their respective communities.
Programs like these are very important for the youth of our diocese and we are very grateful for any initiative and support to develop further programs of this kind.