[ACNS] The Archbishops of Dublin and Jerusalem have signed an accord which will see the people of their respective dioceses “journey together as brothers and sisters in Christ on a common pilgrimage of faith and discipleship.” The Epiphany Agreement, which was signed by Archbishop Michael Jackson and Archbishop Suheil Dawani in St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem, on Sunday (10 January), establishes an official link between the diocese of Jerusalem in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East and the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough in the Church of Ireland.
Archbishop Jackson was in Jerusalem with a delegation which included the Revd Ken Rue, chairperson of the Dublin and Glendalough Council for Mission; and Linda Chambers and Jan de Bruijn of the United Society (formerly USPG).
While there, Archbishop Jackson met with clergy and people of the Diocese of Jerusalem; and visited churches, hospitals and schools.
The Archbishops of Dublin and Jerusalem with the clergy of St George's Cathedral Jerusalem at the signing of the Epiphany Agreement.
Photo: The Diocese of Jerusalem
“Such institutions are vital to the witness and the ministry of Anglicans in the Middle East as they serve their neighbours of other world faiths as well as their members and fellow-Christians of other traditions,” a diocesan spokesperson said. “They also visited Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza for which over €110,000 [Euros – approximately £82,700 GBP] has been raised already by the United Dioceses in Advent 2014 in association with the United Society and Bishops’ Appeal.”
The delegation also learned about the impact of the Syrian crisis in the region; and discussed how the new partnership could benefit schools and churches through links and pilgrimages.
“The Archbishop of Dublin also outlined the diocesan Come&C project which is centred around the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion and how they can be a focus for faith in Dublin and Glendalough and in the Diocese of Jerusalem,” the spokesperson said. “The Come&C initiative was warmly received by Archbishop Suheil Dawani.
“The Epiphany Agreement commits to developing a link relationship of equal partners between the two dioceses which is sustainable, practical, effective, mutually supportive and mutually enriching. The stated aim of the link is to strengthen mission and evangelism in the church communities in both dioceses, to increase awareness between the dioceses of their solidarity in the cause of Christ, to respect and learn of and from each other’s cultural heritage and to enable the world to recognize more clearly God’s mission.”
The Archbishops of Dublin and Jerusalem at the signing of the Epiphany Agreement.
Photo: Linda Chambers / United Society
“The signing of this Epiphany Agreement not only cements the friendship between the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and the Diocese of Jerusalem, it also gives a very strong sense of the mutual respect in which the people and the clergy of both diocesan families hold one another,” Archbishop Jackson said.
“Having had the opportunity since Epiphany to visit institutions and parishes in the Jerusalem Diocese, I have formed a strong sense of the ministry of healing and teaching carried out by the people of the diocese in partnership with their neighbours of other World Faiths. The motivation always is service of other and especially of those in need. This can be a stimulus and an example to us in our own dioceses as the link and partnership develop and grow.”
Archbishop Dawani said he was “delighted” to sign the Epiphany Agreement.
“We in the Land of the Holy One see our ministry as your ministry and we welcome you into sharing this ministry with us. Already you have been so generous to us in the support you have given to the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. We deeply appreciate your generosity. Our prayer is that the new relationship of friendship, solidarity and hospitality will flourish in the years ahead,” he said.
The Diocese of Jerusalem spans Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon. The link will see the establishment of structures in each diocese to foster ways of expressing the relationship at diocesan and parochial levels and will encourage an interchange of people and skills. It will be reviewed and evaluated towards the end of its initial five-year period.