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‘These days are the most difficult’ for Al Ahli Hospital: a voice from within …

Part of the grounds of Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City – from a photo provided by the World Health Organisation Media Centre in December. The hospital’s solar panels can just be seen on the roof.
Part of the grounds of Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City – from a photo provided by the World Health Organisation Media Centre in December. The hospital’s solar panels can just be seen on the roof.
Archbishop Michael Jackson and some members of the Dublin & Glendalough Council for Mission met Archbishop Hosam Naoum and Canon Donald Binder of the Diocese of Jerusalem online yesterday (Thursday February 22).
They spoke of the change in relationships in Jerusalem and the West Bank since October and the huge humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza, which is run by the Diocese of Jerusalem and supported by our appeal, continues to serve in intense adversity. Archbishop Naoum thanked the people of Dublin & Glendalough for their support and stressed the importance of the shared retreats with clergy.

Here, Archbishop Michael Jackson writes of yesterday’s meeting. Please support our Shine a Light appeal – links below.

Thursday February 22nd2024 provided a rare and precious opportunity for some of us to hear first–hand from Archbishop Hosam Naoum and The Reverend Canon Donald Binder of the Diocese of Jerusalem what life is like there right now. The Archbishop began by thanking the people and clergy of Dublin and Glendalough for their long–term support and for the current Shine a Light Campaign and Appeal (find out how to donate on our website here or go to our GoFundMe here). He spoke courageously and compassionately of how the institutions and communities of his diocese continue in their ministries. He spoke also of how the ministries of reconciliation and peacebuilding were now the most unpopular in the current climate of warfare and mistrust.

The shift in relationships in both Jerusalem and The West Bank had happened immediately on October 8th2023, one day after the Hamas incursion and the beginning of the Israeli military response. The Archbishop further drew attention to the ways in which the retreat shared between all his clergy and a number of our clergy in Amman,Jordan in Lent 2023, where together we studied The First Letter of St Peter,with its emphasis on a living hope for those experiencing persecution,continues to inspire all who participated in it and shared that common experience. Now there is enmity between peoples as never before in the universities, in the workplace and freedom of speech effectively has gone.Christians dig deep in the tradition for grace to continue.

Moving to the current situation, he spoke of a river of people streaming to Southern Gaza and predicted that hundreds of thousands of people would now suffer and that disease would inflict deadly consequences where war had as yet failed. The Al Ahli Arab Hospital is still open and he described these days as the most difficult days. He spoke again of how the shared study of Holy Scripture with us had kept them going, built resilience and enabled them to hold strong. The solar energy system [supported by Dublin and Glendalough’s 2014 appeal] functions at 20% capacity when there are no clouds but otherwise there is no fuel and the power is gone. Operations regularly have to be cancelled. They urgently need our financial support for the reconstruction and the reviving of the medical capacity of the Diocese of Jerusalem.  

Our meeting on–line gave an unique insight into the spirit of the people of The Holy Land who have long been called The Living Stones (again a reference to 1 Peter). Today we were planning the reciprocal retreat here in late spring. We expect twelve clergy together with Archbishop Naoum and Canon Binder. Plans are taking shape with two days to be spent on retreat, one day visiting a project and schools and one half–day for free time at the end. Before Covid–19 we shared a retreat here and this is the second visit, including some of the original participants with a number of new faces.

Please continue to pray for the Diocese of Jerusalem and all the peoples they serve … people like us.


About the appeal

Dublin and Glendalough’s Shine a Light for Al Ahli Hospital appeal has now raised over €130,000. At the request of the Diocese of Jerusalem, the funds will go towards the repair or replacement of the solar panels to ensure energy supply, towards the repair of the hospital’s cancer unit, and towards the rehabilitation of children who have been traumatised, both physically and psychologically.

You can donate via our GoFundMe or by bank transfer to Diocesan Funds of Dublin and Glendalough No 1 A/C Current Account, Bank of Ireland, 2 COLLEGE GREEN DUBLIN 2 IBAN: IE50BOFI 9000 1769 3548 78, BIC: BOFIIE2D. Cheques may be sent to Diocesan Offices of Dublin and Glendalough, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6, D06 CF67.

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