March 2023
Give the gift of hope to 50 families in the Holy Land over the 50 Days of Easter
“This Easter season I invite you and your congregation to engage with the ministry of Christian leaders of the Holy Land – the Living Stones – as they faithfully serve their most vulnerable neighbors under challenges and hardships we can scarcely imagine.”

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, AFEDJ Chair
What better time to show our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem that they and their remarkable ministries are not forgotten.

AFEDJ invites congregations (and individuals!) across the US to take part in our 2023 Easter Appeal.

AFEDJ’s 2023 Easter Appeal is dedicated to raising support for the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center’s Mother Empowerment Program, a residential program that each year offers critical support to 520 Palestinian families with children with disabilities from across the West Bank and Gaza. As the only program of its kind serving Palestinian children with disabilities, the demand for the program is high.

We need your help to raise $89,000 – enough to allow 50 additional families from the waiting list to participate in the Mother Empowerment Program in 2023. While some reimbursement comes from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, it covers only 75 percent of the cost of each child’s therapeutic services and covers none of the critical, comprehensive services Princess Basma offers to mothers and fathers who accompany their children. The unreimbursed cost for each family’s two to three week residency is $1,782.

Generous gifts from several individual donors and organizations totaling $45,000 will allow your church's contribution to be matched dollar for dollar. That means if your church raises $981, the match added to your gift will cover the full cost for one family to participate in the Mother Empowerment Program this year.

As always, AFEDJ ensures that 100% of designated donations go directly to the intended institution.

Please watch the brief video below to learn more about this remarkable program and visit for print and digital resources to support your efforts to share the 2023 Easter Appeal with members of your congregation.

Thank you!
You've made a difference in the lives of Syrians affected by the earthquake
Within a week of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, your generous donations totaled more than $48,000 to assist desperate families in northern Syria. Thank you!
When people are in great need, friendships can make all the difference.

The day after the devastating February 6 earthquake, Archbishop Hosam Naoum and his clergy in Jordan began to coordinate with their partners at the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO).

JHCO's existing transportation network in Syria allowed the Diocese of Jerusalem to quickly send gathered food packets, sanitation kits, water, and other critical relief supplies to villages and towns in northern Syria.

As of February 24, the Diocese of Jerusalem had delivered food parcels, warm clothing, and bedding for 750 families. On February 27, food parcels and hygiene kits for an additional 400 families were shipped via JHCO as well as 1,000 sanitation kits and boxes of drinking water.

AFEDJ Executive Director Eileen Spencer said, "The remarkable generosity of our donors was evident as soon as we shared Archbishop Hosam's request for support. Dozens upon dozens of donations allowed us to send just over $48,000 to support of the diocesan effort to meet the immediate needs of more than 1,000 families in Syria."

Thank you!
Lessons learned at ETVTC: "Friendship is more important than winning"
Thanks to Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Center (ETVTC) volunteer extraordinaire Jo Bronson of Portland, Oregon, for sharing a story and photo from this year's high school cooking competition.

Jo spends several months each year in Ramallah at ETVTC tutoring, supporting, and nurturing vocational students as well as assisting director Giovanni Anbar and other staff members wherever needed.

She writes:

"Doreen is the young lady in the black and white checkered chef’s hat. The two young men needed help with preparing their chicken leg. This is a competition between groups of students, and Doreen was on another team. 

"I asked, 'You're in competition against each other. Why are you helping them?'

"Doreen’s reply, 'My friendship is more important than winning.'"

Jo adds, "ETVTC has a way of bringing the best out in our students."
A sneak peek at Bearing Witness: A Journey with Holy Land Christians
As the finishing touches of Bearing Witness are put in place, here's a glimpse of a video from Session 2: Healing.

"Life in Gaza" features Ahli Arab Hospital's General Director Suhail Tarazi and Ahli's Medical Director Dr. Maher Ayyad talking about current conditions in Gaza and challenges of daily life.

One early viewer, Maurine Tobin of Providence, RI - who with her husband, the Rev. Bob Tobin, has led many Holy Land pilgrimages over the past 30 years - had this to say:

"Bob and I had some time today to watch the Bearing Witness videos, intending to watch just a couple of the sessions, but we were so captivated we watched all parts of all five!

"They convey a clear sense of the reality of Palestinian life as well as the reality of the superb work being done by the various diocesan institutions in Israel and Palestine. 

"Not only are the great ministries of the institutions made clear but the introductory Biblical meditations place those ministries in Christian context as well as the current social/political/military context.

"I hope every single Episcopalian gets to see them!"

So do we, Maurine!

Please use the link below to receive an alert when the full Bearing Witness goes live. We can't wait to share it with you.
Farewell to the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, faithful friend to the Diocese of Jerusalem and AFEDJ
Bishop Griswold introduces his wife, Phoebe, and his daughter, Eliza, at an AFEDJ event in Philadelphia in April 2016. Phoebe, an AFEDJ trustee from 2007 to 2013, served as board chair.
On March 5 we were saddened to receive news of the death of the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, the 25th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. AFEDJ is grateful for Phoebe and Bishop Griswold's long-standing and stalwart support of the humanitarian ministries of the Diocese of Jerusalem and their friendships with the region's Christian leaders.

Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas shared a quote from Bishop Griswold on social media that speaks to his commitment to those in need and resonates with AFEDJ's mission: "Let us be exceedingly mindful that bearing one another's burdens and sharing one another's suffering is integral to being members of Christ's body."

AFEDJ offers a safe, secure channel to make gifts to support the work of the humanitarian institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.