I write to call your attention to the remarkable work of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. The diocese, supported in large measure by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, accomplishes faithful work in Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Our former bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of this agency. See the website for extensive information, www.afedj.org.
One of the institutions maintained by the Diocese is the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. This hospital offers medical care to anyone who needs it, without regard to ethnic identity or religious affiliation, including those unable to pay. For many years, while we were a part of St. James’ Church in Austin TX, that parish prayed regularly for Ahli Arab Hospital and many members were active contributors.
Earlier today, Monday 10.16.2023, Amy and I sent a donation to the hospital, whose needs have increased beyond measure, as you may well imagine. Though located in Gaza, a Palestinian area, the hospital serves all comers. No one is turned away. No exceptions. This is the heart and mind of the Diocese of Jerusalem, serving Israelis, Jordanians, Lebanese, and Palestinians alike.
In this time of stewardship pledging and ingathering in our parish, it is still necessary to look beyond our current, quite realistic needs, and consider a further generosity. If that is a possibility for you, we would ask your prayerful consideration.
The column here was written the evening of Monday, October 16. With Paul’s encouragement, I sent it out the next morning, Tuesday, to a parish email list that I have created. That afternoon, Tuesday, the news came of the horrific bombing and devastation at Ahli Arab Hospital, about which I had written the night before. Again, on Tuesday, I wrote to those on that mailing list. What I said there, I am repeating in part here.
"The sorrow and sadness are not mitigated by discovering who is to blame. This is what war does to innocent people, any war, every war.
I still ask your prayerful support, adding these increasing needs to those already present beforehand. This hospital, even under siege, will continue to serve in whatever way possible, particularly the poor.”