They are not alone
by Endicott Peabody
A day following my return home to Arizona from Jerusalem, I am pretty jet-lagged and very tired but I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to visit so many schools and hospitals in Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Every humanitarian institution in the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is different in its scope and services. Every institution serves a broad, diverse population. Wh
at they have in common is their mission: To serve all people of the Holy Land regardless of their creed or their ethnicity. When they repeat Jesus’ words “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” they mean it, and they live it over and over every day.
What particularly struck me on last week’s visit by AFEDJ trustees to some 12 organizations their leaders’ ability to cheerfully make do with what few tools and resources are available to them. I visited classrooms in Salt and Zarqa in Jordan and Ramallah, on the West Bank. They are all crowded, but they are also filled with cheery pictures and decorations and, most importantly, happy and enthusiastic students and teachers.
We visited hospital emergency and operating rooms in Nablus and Gaza. The facilities might seem to us sparse and outdated, but they are very clean and staffed with devoted and caring doctors and nurses. We also visited institutions for the deaf and disabled in East Jerusalem and in Amman and Jofeh, Jordan. We met those sainted people who work in these institutions. Again and again we were told what a privilege it is for them to work there. Not once did we hear a complaint or a curse, not once did we hear a plea for anything more than our prayers.
I am so grateful to be able to support these organizations, these people and their work, and for the privilege to meet them in person.
And I am especially grateful for the many generous and loyal donors who support AFEDJ and this work. Truly, the financial support we receive from so many caring and committed donors allows us to give these organizations and the thousands of people that they serve one HUGE gift: the gift of hope and the assurance that they are not alone, that there is a light way in the distance. Our donors offer tangible proof to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land that many people genuinely care about them in a world that often seems to be filled with people who don’t.
Cotty Peabody is a member of AFEDJ Board of Trustees and Chair of the Development Committee. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
A letter from Archbishop Suheil Dawani on cuts in aid
Cuts in U.S. aid jeopardize healthcare services to our most vulnerable brothers and sisters
Since the announcement in September that the U.S. Government planned to cut $200 million in aid to UNRWA, the United Nations’ agency dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees, and the news the following week of $25 million in cuts in direct aid to support hospitals affiliated with the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, we have been tracking the implications of those cuts on the institutions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, particularly Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City and the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in East Jerusalem.
While in recent weeks many European Union countries, as well as Japan, China, and Qatar, among others, have stepped up by pledging to address the shortfall, the impacts of the cuts could have devastating impacts on all sectors of society. Many thousands of vulnerable Palestinians, including women and children -particularly those in Gaza - are already experiencing the effects of these sweeping cuts.
Cuts in Aid: Ahli Hospital and Princess Basma Center Struggle to Provide Services
This is what we know so far:
Since the announcement last week that the U.S. would roll back $200 million in aid pledged to assist Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and this week's news that the U.S. government will cut an additional $25 million in direct aid to support hospitals in Jerusalem, we've been speaking with our friends in the Diocese of Jerusalem about the impact on Ahli Hospital and Princess Basma Center.
Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City
AFEDJ welcomes Heidi Shott as its first communications director
As a part of its commitment to raise awareness and garner support for the institutions it serves, the Board of Trustees of the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ) is pleased to welcome Heidi Shott of Newcastle, Maine, as its first Communications Director. Shott has served as Canon for Communication and Advocacy in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine for the past ten years. Previously, she was the communications director for the Genesis Community Loan Fund, a Maine-wide community development loan fund.
The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, board chair and bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, said of the appointment, ”Heidi brings with her a breadth of communications experience that will be vital to furthering the work of AFEDJ. Her strong relationships with leaders across The Episcopal Church will help us to engage more people in the cause of supporting schools, hospitals, and other humanitarian institutions in the Holy Land. I am delighted Heidi has joined us and look forward to the stories she will help us share of transforming lives and building hope among the children and families in the region.