Middle East Ministry

The Diocese of Virginia, its churches and parishioners have relationships throughout the Anglican Communion. In some places the Diocese of Virginia is exploring new ministries and in others there are long standing relationships. Below are areas in the Middle East that the Diocese of Virginia, churches or parishioners continue to nurture and grow partnerships.

 

Israel, Palestine, and Jordan

  • In March 2014, St. Matthew's, Sterling, took a pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan to see the location of Jesus' birth, ministry, and crucifixion.
  • In October 2011, the Rev. Susan Daughtry, who served St. Thomas, Richmond, and the Rev. Ann Gillespie and Jane Gilchrist, from Christ Church, Alexandria, visited holy sites and ancient ruins with the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Oman

There have been various trips to Oman led by the Rev. Bill Sachs through the Center for Interfaith Reconciliation. They maintain good relationships with church leaders and the Minister of Religion in the Government of Oman.

Pakistan

The Diocese of Virginia is developing a relationship with Bishop Humphrey Peters of the Diocese of Peshawar through the Rev. Bill Sachs, of the Center for Interfaith Reconcilation. The Rev. Bill Sachs and Buck Blanchard visited Bishop Peters in January 2013. The Diocese of Virginia was hosted by the Rev. Dr. Titus Preslar, President of Edwardes College in Peshawar, and maintains a relationship with Bishop Mano Rumalshah, retired bishop of the Diocese of Peshawar.

Qatar

The Rev. Bill Sachs of St. Stephen’s, Richmond and the Center for Interfaith Reconciliation maintains relationships with a parish.

Turkey

A parishioner of St. Paul's, Bailey's Crossroads, has served as a missionary in Turkey for over 30 years, working to support small Christian groups. This work has recently focused on the inclusion of Syrian refugees.

 

Resources

The links, books, and movies below are resources we recommend for learning more about the work of the Episcopal Church in the Middle East.

Documentaries

Books About the Holy Land and Pilgrimage

  • Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses, Bruce Feiler — Feiler is a fifth-generation American Jew from the South who initially felt no connection to the Holy Land. His journey of faith includes spiritual, archeological, Scriptural, and occasionally political reflections.
  • Where Jesus Walked: A Spiritual Journey Through the Holy Land, R. Wayne Stacey — Each chapter introduces the reader to a prominent place in Jesus’ life– its architecture, geography, history, and archeology. The book includes a new translation of a Scriptural passage relevant to the place and a brief meditation. It is a great companion to bring on a pilgrimage.
  • The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred,Phil Cousineau — Cousineau offers thoughtful and practical suggestions for traveling prayerfully.
  • A New Testament Guide to the Holy Land,John Kilgallen — For both pilgrims and armchair travelers, this title is a unique introduction to the holy sites of Israel and explains both the physical and spiritual aspects of these areas. Fr. Kilgallen describes each site’s geographical and archaeological importance and then cites Gospel passages that reveal the area’s significance in Jesus’ life. The book includes twenty nine photos & maps.

 Books on Reconciliation and Conflict

  • No Future Without Forgiveness, Desmond Tutu — Archbishop Tutu presents a spirituality of reconciliation and his reflections on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Justice and Only Justice, Naim Ateek — Ateek is the director of Sabeel, a Christian Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Ateek uses Scripture and his family story to articulate a Palestinian liberation theology. It is an incredibly thoughtful reading of the Bible from a Palestinian Christian perspective.
  • How Long O Lord?: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Voices from the Ground and Visions for the Future, ed. Maurine   Tobin — This book contains outstanding essays from a variety of people engaged in peacemaking in Israel/ Palestine.
  • Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land, David Shipler — This is a slightly older book, giving a solid account of the cultural differences and racial stereotypes that contribute to the conflict. It won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1987.
  • Understanding the Palestinian/ Israeli Conflict: A Primer, Phyllis Bennis — Exactly what it says: a short, concise primer about the core issues of the conflict– easy-to-read and straightforward.
  • The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, Sandy Tolan — Tolan personalizes the conflict by tracing the intersecting narratives of a Palestinian refugee and a Jewish settler who at different times lived in the same house.

 

Tell Us More 

Are you interested in getting involved with our ministries in the Middle East?  Do you have an existing ministry or connection?  Send your comments to Buck Blanchard.