Episcopal News Service March 16, 2008
Presiding Bishop preaches in Jerusalem, shares in Palm Sunday celebrations
Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani welcomes Jefferts Schori to the Holy Land
By Matthew Davies
[Episcopal News Service] Marking the annual Palm Sunday celebrations and the start of a week-long visit to the Holy Land, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made Anglican history on March 16 becoming the first woman ever to preach at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.
An audio stream and the full text of the Presiding Bishop's sermon are available at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_95737_ENG_HTM.htm
The Presiding Bishop's visit to the Holy Land comes at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, who was consecrated Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem in January 2006.
The morning Eucharist, celebrated in Arabic and English, was preceded by the blessing of palm branches and a procession from St. George's College Square into the Cathedral, located on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem.
"We joined in a remarkable multicultural worship experience today -- Arabic and English speaking Christians celebrating Palm Sunday in the midst of East Jerusalem, with palm and olive branches, singing old standard Holy Week hymns in both languages," said Jefferts Schori reflecting on the service.
The main objective of her visit, Jefferts Schori says, is to explore ways the U.S.-based Episcopal Church can be more supportive of and helpful to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and to strengthen relationships with the declining Christian population in the Holy Land. There are currently around 5,000 Anglicans throughout the diocese, which extends over five countries -- Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria -- within the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Throughout the week, the Presiding Bishop will meet with religious leaders, Israeli and Palestinian human rights advocates, and join Eastertide services, observances and celebrations, including the traditional Maundy Thursday Foot Washing, Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, and Holy Saturday's Easter Vigil. On Easter Sunday, she will offer greetings at the morning Eucharist at St. George's Cathedral.
The Presiding Bishop is accompanied by her husband, Richard Schori; Bishop Christopher Epting, the Episcopal Church's ecumenical and interfaith officer; and Maureen Shea, director of government relations.
Full story: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_95739_ENG_HTM.htm
-- Matthew Davies, editor of Episcopal Life Online and Episcopal Life Media correspondent for the Anglican Communion, is traveling with the Presiding Bishop in the Holy Land.