The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East held a Provincial Conference for Clergy and Spouses, 25-27 April, at the Dead Sea in Jordan. Representatives gathered from the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and the Diocese of Jerusalem. The conference was led by the Primate, the Most Reverend Michael Lewis (Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf), and the Most Reverend Hosam Naoum (Archbishop in Jerusalem). The theme, ‘Stronger Together’, was addressed by the Patriarchal Vicar of the Roman Catholic Church in Jordan, Monsignor Jamal Khader; and the Reverend Professor Jenn Strawbridge, Associate Professor in New Testament Studies at the University of Oxford. In addition to time spent together in Bible Study, conversation and worship, the conference included trips to the Baptismal Site of Jesus and the Moses Memorial Church at Mount Nebo.
The Conference built upon the friendship of the two Archbishops and grew stronger connections among the clergy following two earlier online meetings.
The Provincial Synod met after the conference and in the same spirit, we committed ourselves to walking together in faith as a Province and sharing the vision of the Province’s mission with Anglican partners from across the communion, who had been invited as guests to both the conference and Synod.
At the Synod Archbishop Hosam described his personal friendship with Archbishop Michael Lewis, and the great example of his servant leadership, particularly through the time of the coronavirus pandemic. He spoke of the close relationship that now exists between not only the two bishops, but their Dioceses too. In light of the effects of the pandemic, Archbishop Hosam proposed a motion that the Synod extend the term of Archbishop Michael Lewis as primate for a year, until 12th May 2023, and elect Archbishop Hosam Naoum to serve for five years from 13th May 2023. The Synod unanimously passed the motion, with Archbishop Hosam stating his desire to learn about primatial work from Archbishop Michael Lewis during the year.
The motion encapsulated the sense of celebration with which the Province moves forward on its continuing journey of faith, mutual love and friendship.
Photo credits: Diocese of Jerusalem