October 2021
On his first U.S. trip as Archbishop, the Most Rev. Hosam Naoum offers tidings of friendship and hope
Nearly 100 American friends from the Diocese of Massachusetts and some traveling from as far away as California and Alabama, gathered at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston on October 14 to hear Archbishop Hosam Naoum talk about his vision for the Diocese of Jerusalem and the ties that bind us together in support of ministry in the Holy Land.

“One important thing about our friendship is that we are gathered together by something called love,” he said.
Dean Amy McCreath of St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston with Archbishop Naoum
“The gift of Christ’s love that has gone out from Jerusalem comes back to us in your support. It does not just go in one direction but goes out in all directions and unites everybody to that one place, Jerusalem.

“I am ever grateful for all of you, friends from the West Coast to the East Coast, from the North and the South who have given so much that helps the Diocese of Jerusalem continue to flourish, continue to do its mission and ministry in the place where it all began.”

On October 15, Archbishop Naoum and his chaplain in Jerusalem, the Rev. Canon Don Binder, joined the AFEDJ board of trustees for a productive day-long meeting to discuss ways to strengthen and deepen the partnership between American Friends and the Diocese of Jerusalem under his leadership. 

AFEDJ Chair, Bishop Greg Rickel of Olympia, said, “I am so grateful for this recent opportunity to meet with Archbishop Hosam in person early in his leadership. I believe he is the right person, in the right place, at the right time.” He added, "The depth of our discussions about his vision for the Diocese of Jerusalem and the many ways we can strengthen our friendship as partners gives me great hope for the future.”

Visit our website for more photos from the weekend’s events.

Watch Archbishop Naoum’s sermon preached at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday, October 17 below.
American Friends awarded USAID grant to support students with disabilities at Jerusalem Princess Basma Center 
A $550,000 federal grant will add an elevator and renovate a rooftop playground, giving all children access to science classrooms, the school library and the new play area 
In mid-September American Friends received the good news of its first ever federal grant award. USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) will provide $550,000 to fund the installation of a 15-passenger elevator that will connect all three floors of the Center’s Inclusive School and renovation of the rooftop playground to make it safe, modern, and accessible to children with disabilities. 

Currently children and young people with disabilities, who represent 30% of JPBC’s 428 K-12 Inclusive School students, do not have access to the upper level playground, science classrooms, or the library. With the completion of this project, students at the school and children served by the Rehabilitation Center will be fully included in all academic, extracurricular, and recreational activities. 

In addition to the ASHA award, AFEDJ donors are providing nearly $200,000 to fully fund the project. Executive Director John Lent remarked, “Thanks to you, AFEDJ is able to partner with ASHA to complete this transformative project. We at AFEDJ and our friends at the Diocese of Jerusalem and Princess Basma Center are grateful for your extraordinary generosity and your friendship.” 

Read more about the ASHA grant and the project here.
Join American Friends for a dialogue with Parents Circle members 
Thursday, November 4, at 11 a.m. (Eastern) via Zoom
Please join us to hear the personal stories of two Parents Circle-Family Forum members, an Israeli and a Palestinian, as they speak about their loved ones who were killed in the ongoing conflict. They will share their journey from pain to hope, their thoughts about reconciliation and partnership, and their choice to engage in dialogue instead of revenge.

The speakers will be Miri Ben-Rafael, (left) who lost her only brother, Amnon, when he was killed at the age of 26 in the Golan Heights in the 1973 war, and George Sa’adeh, a Palestinian and native Bethlehemite whose 12 year-old daughter Christine died of injuries sustained in 2003 when Israeli soldiers opened fire on the Sa’adeh’s car, as they were driving home from the supermarket. George, his wife Najwa, and their daughter Marianne were also severely injured in the attack. 

Parents Circle-Family Forum (PCFF) is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization made up of more than 600 bereaved families. Their common bond is that they have lost a close family member to the conflict. 

To take part, please click on the registration link below. A Zoom link and passcode will be included in your confirmation email.

We hope you'll join us on November 4.
Learn something new about the Holy Land each day of Advent with our Online Advent Calendar 
Join us this Advent season as we explore the themes of hope, love, peace, and joy with people from the schools and hospitals in the Diocese of Jerusalem. Each day offers a window into lives and ministries of today's Holy Land Christians in the land where Jesus was born. 

Join friends across the U.S. in learning about the ministries of the Diocese of Jerusalem and remembering them in your prayers.

Visit www.afedj.org/advent to open a new window each day beginning December 1.

New this year! Sign up for a daily alert to the day’s window.

Each morning beginning December 1 through Christmas Eve, you'll receive an email with a link to a new Advent calendar window.
Welcome to Joanne Blakemore, AFEDJ’s newest trustee
In September, AFEDJ’s board of trustees welcomed Joanne Blakemore of Charlottesville, VA, as its newest member. Joanne brings extensive experience in nonprofit management and a deep passion for the ministries of the Diocese of Jerusalem and the people of the region.

Between 2008 and 2017, as a lay leader at the American Cathedral in Paris, Joanne designed and led many pilgrimages to the Holy Land which included stops at the diocesan schools in Ramallah and the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf in Jordan.

We are delighted to welcome Joanne, pictured here with her husband, Haywood, to the board.
AFEDJ offers a safe, secure channel to make gifts to support the work of the humanitarian institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem | 203.655.3575