On Wednesday 20 January, the Archbishop in Jerusalem, The Most Revd Suheil Dawani, and the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, signed the Jerusalem- Southwark Covenant Agreement, linking both Dioceses formally.
“We in the Diocese of Jerusalem look forward to formalizing our companion relationship with the Diocese of Southwark later this month, especially in that we have already enjoyed a close association between our two dioceses through St. George’s College. This Covenant Agreement will deepen that partnership, opening new opportunities for prayer, theological reflection, pilgrimage, and mutual support of our respective ministries between the clergy and people of our two dioceses,” said Archbishop Suheil.
Linking both Dioceses in this way formalises a long-standing relationship. Bishop Christopher is regularly invited by the Roman Catholic Bishops Conferences to participate as an Anglican Bishop in the “Holy Land Coordination”, making annual visits to Israel and Palestine. He is also a Patron of Embrace the Middle East, together with the Balfour Project, as well as Friends of the Holy Land, which funds sustainable and immediate relief work in the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan. The Dean of St George’s College, Jerusalem, Richard Sewell, was previously Team Rector of Barnes Team Ministry. Archbishop Suheil’s previous chaplain, David Longe, moved there from North Lambeth Team Ministry. Bishop Christopher and the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark, regularly lead pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Andrew also leads courses at St George’s College.
Bishop Christopher said, “Formalising our links in this way, builds on existing friendships and partnership in mission between the two dioceses. It is a historic moment and I am looking forward to strengthening our ties in the years to come.”
The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston, has worked very closely with St George’s College Jerusalem over many years and chaired its British Regional Committee until recently. Among other things, he has helped to instigate and co-lead the College’s hugely successful and ground-breaking “Sharing Perspectives” course which now engages Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders reflecting closely together in the Holy Land to gain better insights into each other’s perspectives on both the Holy Land and their faith. Bishop Richard said, “It has been a huge privilege to engage with the Diocese of Jerusalem for several years and this new Covenant opens the door for even closer relationships into the future which I hope and pray will enrich both Dioceses and the wider Church.”