Bishop Suheil Dawani. Photo: Art Babych
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has unveiled a new venture to strengthen ties between the Anglican Church of Canada and the diocese of Jerusalem.
In a Lenten pastoral letter, the primate invited Anglicans across Canada to join–as individuals, parishes or dioceses–the Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. The new organization is intended to be a group “drawn together in common concern and support for the well-being of the church” in the Holy Land.
The companions will work to promote awareness of the diocese and its ministries, its struggles to work within the region’s conflicts, and its commitment to co-operative ecumenical initiatives for reconciliation, Hiltz wrote.
Working with the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, the primate said the group will fund specific ministries and new initiatives in housing, health care and education. The companions will also help people who want to serve as volunteers in mission find opportunities. They will also support advocacy for a lasting peace in the region.
It is Hiltz’ hope that membership will grow quickly, with every bishop becoming a companion before Pentecost. He asked that bishops encourage their dioceses and parishes to join as well.
The new organization follows a resolution from General Synod 2010 in Halifax that called for ties with the diocese to be built and strengthened. Since that time, the Rev. Maj. John Organ, a Canadian, has been appointed as the next chaplain to Bishop Suheil. The dioceses of Ottawa and Jerusalem are also establishing a companion relationship.
“In my heart I am convinced that this companionship is of Christ’s will and blessing,” the Primate concluded. “In every account of his appearing to the disciples after The Resurrection there is a drawing near, and a walking with, a companionship that is beautiful and abiding. May it be so for us and for our brothers and sisters in the diocese of Jerusalem.”