Government policies to reduce spread of COVID-19 impact Diocese of Jerusalem

Archbishop Dawani asks for prayers, assistance to help those affected

The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem has been closed to the public by the Palestinian Authority.

Photo: Neil Ward/Creative Commons
As a growing number of cases of COVID-19 are diagnosed in the West Bank and Israel, both the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel have taken strong measures to slow the spread of the disease.

In Palestine’s fragile economy, the order to close schools, restaurants, and coffee houses and the complete sealing off of Bethlehem has immediate and grave repercussions for thousands of people.
Diocese of Jerusalem schools now closed include St. George’s School and Princess
Basma Inclusive School in East Jerusalem, the Arab Evangelical Episcopal School (AEES) and the Episcopal Technological and Vocational Training Center (ETVTC) in Ramallah, and the Episcopal Kindergarten in Nablus. Diocesan employees who live in Bethlehem are restricted from leaving the city.

The Israeli government policy to require anyone arriving from a country where COVID-19 is present to enter a 14-day quarantine has impacted pilgrim trips from the U.S. 

In a letter to international partners sent on March 11, Archbishop Suheil Dawani wrote:

“The dwindling number of pilgrims has already placed a huge burden on poorer families. This is especially the case for those living in the Bethlehem area, whose economy is largely dependent upon the pilgrim ministry, which has ground to a halt: The Church of the Nativity is closed, hostels are empty, and the normally busy market streets are now barren.” 

He asked that American friends consider a donation to his discretionary fund so, as requests for help are received, he may assist those impacted by the crisis.

Donations for that purpose may be sent to the AFEDJ office or made on our secure online giving portal at with the designation: “Archbishop Discretionary Fund.”

Archbishop Dawani concluded, “Finally, during this holy season of Lent, I would especially ask you to pray for us, even as we all offer our prayers for those afflicted by Coronavirus around the world, as well as those suffering from the economic hardships this epidemic has caused.” 


 Please support Ahli Hospital and Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre
American Friends - individuals and church communities - are invited to take part in an Easter Appeal to support the ministry of two remarkable institutions: Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City and Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre.

In whatever way you choose to participate your gift will have a profound effect on the lives of those served by these two institutions.

Your gift will immediately go to work on their behalf.

Parishes may make a church-wide appeal to members, choose to donate the offering from an Easter service, or offer a gift through your outreach program.

We can you help spread the word and build excitement with resources for the Easter Appeal 2020 including a brochure, flyer, story cards, a bulletin insert, a letter from AFEDJ Chair, Bishop Greg Rickel, and videos from Jerusalem and Gaza.

Visit for downloadable resources and more.
Students welcome Bishop Coadjutor-Elect in Jordan
Bishop Coadjutor-Elect Hosam Naoum (far right) is welcomed by teachers and students from the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf. He is joined by Archbishop Suheil Dawani and HLID Director Archdeacon Luay Haddad.
In February newly-elected Bishop Coadjutor the Very Rev. Hosam Naoum visited Diocese of Jerusalem churches and institutions in Jordan.

Clergy and lay people from many denominations gathered at Ahliyyah School in Amman for a joyful reception in his honor.

A lively group of deaf and deaf-blind students from the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf travelled from nearby Salt to greet the bishop-elect and Archbishop Suheil Dawani.
Dean Naoum currently serves as dean of St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem. He will be consecrated there, Inshallah, on June 14, 2020.

American friends wishing to support the costs of the consecration and Dean Hosam's ministry are invited to make a donation at with the designation "Bishop Coadjutor Consecration."
Cosmetology program offers young Syrian refugee women hope for a beautiful future

Schneller School, Marka, Jordan
In late February AFEDJ Executive Director John Lent visited several Diocese of Jerusalem institutions, including Schneller School in Marka, Jordan. Schneller is in the midst of developing a comprehensive plan thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Harold C. Smith Foundation.

Pictured are some of the 12 young Syrian refugees he met at the school. They are enrolled in Schneller's new cosmetology vocational training program.

Lent explained, "Together with the Schneller board of directors, we're in partnership with several German and Swiss non-governmental organizations, Christian charitable organizations, and the German embassy in Jordan on the long-term plan to move the school forward. A key element is rebuilding Schneller’s vocational training programs, which once were the finest in Jordan. The Germans know something about training young people for trades and have been valuable partners in this work."

The leaders at Schneller are working hard to expand the range of vocational training opportunities open to both young women and young men as a means to escape poverty and build stable, healthy, and productive lives.

You can be a part of this good work. Learn more about Schneller School's long history of serving refugee children here and on its institution page on our website.
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