With memories of the diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land still fresh, Connor pilgrims will be interested to know that the Archbishop of Canterbury has launched an appeal for funds to help sustain Christian communities in the Holy Land.
Dr Rowan Williams said: “I returned from a visit to the Holy Land last year with a very, very strong sense that we had to do more to express our solidarity with the Christian communities there…We know our brothers and sisters there are suffering; and we don’t always ask ourselves often enough what our response needs to be.”
He said he hoped that Anglicans and others would give generously to help build a fund from which community projects could be supported – projects which would contribute to the sustainability of the most vulnerable Christian communities, especially on the West Bank.
The Archbishop’s appeal, launched on July 12, preceded a conference on Christians in the Holy Land which he and the Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols jointly hosted at Lambeth Palace on July 18 and 19.
“The rate of emigration from Christian populations in the Holy Land has been growing steadily for a long time” said the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He continued: “I want to say to Christians in the Holy Land that we treasure enormously their presence and witness. A witness which has gone on throughout Christian history…often in conditions of great trial and stress…Christians in the West…need to be aware that the Christians of the Holy Land are an intrinsic part of our Christian family.”
Dr Williams referred to the work of the Friends of the Holy Land, a small but growing ecumenical charity made up of parish-based groups dedicated to praying with and for Christians in the Holy Land and supporting them in practical and personal ways.
The Archbishop said he hoped that more Anglicans would consider joining the Friends of the Holy Land, which had agreed to collect and hold in trust all funds donated in response to the Archbishop’s Appeal.
“I hope that in the weeks ahead, fellow Anglicans will give generously to support this vision and consider ways of becoming better informed and more involved with the issues – not as part of any kind of political campaign but as part of what we owe to our brothers and sisters in Christ’s Body, in supporting the continuance of the vital presence of Christian communities in the land where our Lord preached, lived and died the Gospel,” he said.