Keeping the feast of Luke

Published October 1, 2009

ON OCT. 18, the church remembers St. Luke, physician and evangelist. Prayers of special intention are offered for the sick and their families, as well as for doctors, nurses, personal care workers and chaplains. We pray for all engaged in medical research. We give thanks for all who volunteer through hospital auxiliaries and for all who generously support hospital foundations.

This year, I will be thinking of healthcare facilities in the diocese of Jerusalem, which I visited in August with Andrea Mann, global relations co-ordinator for our church. The Penman Clinic in the basement of St. Matthew’s Church, Zababdeh, is a regional clinic serving some 12,000 people a year from 13 neighbouring communities.

The Princess Basma Center in East Jerusalem serves disabled children and their families. The director, Betty Majai, would welcome a volunteer in mission, someone “who is newly retired, has their health and energy, and loves children.” The Al Ahli Arab Hospital is a full-service medical and surgical hospital that provides medical care to thousands of Gaza residents who live in refugee camps.

St. Luke’s Hospital in Nablus is a charity hospital, completely dependent on patient fees and donations. Last year, the hospital was on the brink of closure, but Bishop Suheil Dawani would not allow that. Too many people would have suffered. “Thank God [for the bishop’s support],” said the director. “It gives us hope.” In his ministry Jesus went about doing good and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). “Like him,” said the bishop, “we must be known for our compassion and commitment to care for the sick.”

Commitment to healthcare reflects an important principle of faith in action. As our partnership with the diocese of Jerusalem grows, opportunities are already presenting themselves. They need volunteers in mission and donations to acquire medical equipment and to expand facilities. I pray our response will be generous.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, visited Israel and the Palestinian territories, Aug. 22 to 30.


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