All Saints Day, 2000

November 1, 2000

November 1st, 2000

Dear friends in Christ:

I write with a heavy heart, knowing that people on all sides of the difficult questions in the Middle East are grieving as the violence continues. I have remained in regular communication over these last weeks with our bishop in the Diocese of Jerusalem, the Right Reverend Riah H. Abu El-Assal. He has appealed to us to observe a time of prayer for our Church in the Holy Land and for all the people in the region. I want to assure our Palestinian sisters and brothers that we are profoundly aware of their suffering, frustration and anger.

I call upon the whole Church to join in intentional prayer from now through Christmas Day, praying for a genuine and abiding peace in the Holy Land, and for the presence of God's unfailing love with those who have suffered through this conflict over the last decades.

My prayer is that the people who live in the Holy Land and confess the three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - will find a way to live together with mutual trust. I ask that we join our prayers with the prayers of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

All congregations in our Church have received information about Jerusalem 2000 and our participation in this Anglican Communion effort to raise funds. Our hope is to raise $2.5 million in the Episcopal Church to support the infrastructure of our Church institutions, especially the hospitals and schools, in the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. Given the situation, this effort is particularly timely.

Further, I commend for study and reflection, the booklet and video entitled Peacemaking in the Holy Land which lays out the concerns and actions of our church in partnership with the diocese and people of the Church in the Holy Land. This material is available from Episcopal Parish Services.

The remembrance of the birth of Jesus will bear a special poignancy this coming Christmas as we turn our faces towards Bethlehem. May this year's celebration of the Nativity see the fulfillment of the promise to be found in the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold
XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA