Two bishops’ wives told the diocese of Ottawa’s synod on Oct. 19 that they wanted to share with members an idea they had been discussing to help develop the growing partnership between Ottawa and the Diocese of Jerusalem.
“We would like to plan a women’s conference in 2015, probably of eight to 10 days, that would be divided between Jerusalem, Jordan and Gaza,” said Catherine, wife of Bishop John Chapman. Her enthusiasm was shared by Shafeeqa, wife of Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem, special guests at synod.
“I think we could have a wonderful experience,” said Catherine. “In the meantime, we can all connect on Facebook to get to know each other.”
Bishop Chapman called it a “phenomenal idea to cement our partnership.” In his charge to synod, he said the partnership “has already produced fruit upon the holy vine we call church and we continue to learn much from the witness and ministry of those living in the Holy Land.”
Ottawa, he said, is planning to provide clergy support for one of the parishes in the Diocese of Jerusalem and parish partnerships are also being considered. “Bishop Dawani has already warmly welcomed visitors, volunteers, pilgrims and workers from our diocese.”
He said he has accepted a position on St. George’s College North American Council, which supports the work and ministry of the institution in Jerusalem.
Dean Shane Parker said that Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa and St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem were already working together and Parker planned a visit to meet the clergy there next year. Matthew Brown, youth missioner, said discussions were taking place for a youth pilgrimage in 2015.
Bishop Dawani made two presentations to synod, discussing the situation with Christians in his diocese, which covers Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, and the wide range of health-care and educational services it provides. The schools, he said, play a large part in maintaining the coexistence of Christian and Muslim Arabs in the region.
He was later presented with a cheque for $5,000 by Bishop Chapman, and another for $15,000 from PWRDF, from funds contributed from the diocese’s Growing in Faith Together fundraising campaign. The money was designated for the hospital in Gaza.
Saturday evening, Oct. 19, the two bishops joined the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, at the parish of Fitzroy Harbour for a celebration of its 150th anniversary. Bishop Dawani will also be a guest at the House of Bishops meeting in Quebec City.
During his time in Ottawa, Bishop Dawani will meet with federal officials and other officials involved in the Middle East.
Brian Sarjeant is media relations officer for the diocese of Ottawa.