Good Friday, Easter appeals support ministries in the Middle East

By Solange De Santis

During the Easter Triduum, the days from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, Episcopal ministries in the Middle East receive support from the Good Friday Offering, sponsored by the Episcopal Church, and the Easter Appeal, sponsored by the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Now in its 101st year, the Good Friday Offering is collected at Good Friday services in parishes across the church.

“Every Good Friday, we remember the sacrifice of our Lord … By walking the way of the cross, Jesus of Nazareth showed us what a life of sacrificial love is all about and left behind footsteps that we are called to follow. The selfless way of the cross enables us to live authentic Christian lives,’ wrote Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in a message accompanying the 2023 appeal.

Wafa’, mother of Mohammed, from Jenin, West Bank, participates in the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center’s Mother Empowerment Program. Photo/American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

“This coming Good Friday, April 7, I invite you into that selfless way of living through your part in the Good Friday Offering … by providing sight to people at the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic in Yemen, one of the poorest countries on earth; for a child to receive an education at Christ Anglican School in Nazareth; for a hospital in Nablus to
welcome new births at a rate of 30 per month; for young deaf people to be cared for and taught life skills in Jordan. Your gifts to these places and many others ‘spreads love’s message’ and enables both you and those you help to discover that ‘our living shall not be in vain,’” Curry wrote.

Each year, the American Friends’ Easter Appeal, in collaboration with partners in the Diocese of Jerusalem, identifies one project or program of critical need at a school, hospital, or center for children with disabilities owned and operated by the diocese. The American Friends’ mission is to support the diocesan humanitarian institutions in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.

This year, the Easter Appeal will aid the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center‘s Mother Empowerment Program, a residential program that each year offers critical support to 520 Palestinian families with children with disabilities from across the West Bank and Gaza.

Violette Mubarak, general director of the center, explained the challenges that a Palestinian parent encounters when they seek treatment and support for their children with disabilities. Children from towns and cities in the West Bank and Gaza cannot access services at our center because they and their parents don’t have permission to travel to Jerusalem. Our multidisciplinary team goes into the field to our partner clinics to assess children and then refers those who need comprehensive treatment to our Center. We then facilitate the permit process to allow the child and a parent, usually their mother, to come to Jerusalem for the residential program.”

The Easter Appeal is aiming to raise enough funds to allow 50 additional families from the waiting list to participate in the Mother Empowerment Program in 2023.