Archbishop in Jordan
Monday 22nd February 2010The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Reverend Suheil Dawani, were received by His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan at the culmination of the Archbishop's two day visit to the Kingdom 19-21 February.
In the course of their thirty minute audience discussion ranged across a number of regional issues from peace-building to inter-faith dialogue (including the Common Word Initiative) and shared profound concerns about the increasing fragility of Christian communities across the region, and the Holy Land in particular.
Earlier in the day the Archbishop and Bishop Suheil celebrated the Sunday Eucharist service in the parish Church of The Redeemer in Amman. Bishop Suheil preached to a packed congregation on the first Sunday in Lent. "The Archbishop's visit was", he said, "a visible and welcome sign of hope in a region in which so many were suffering; a sign of our continuing hope as Christians, that there will be peace and reconciliation in this Land of the Holy One".
On Saturday the Archbishop visited the impressive Jofeh Community Rehabilitation Centre which is run by the Diocese of Jerusalem and situated in the Jordan Valley. The centre is a centre of excellence in the Kingdom providing a range of services to children with a variety of disabilities. The vast majority come from Muslim families. Many are either deaf, visually impaired, or blind and some suffer from multiple disabilities. Training and skills development in a range of crafts and specialised skills is provided to a very high standard and the children's work is sold commercially.
Dr Williams then joined over 750 Anglican parishioners, mainly from Amman, to bless the foundation stone of the Great Church of St John the Baptist to be built at the Baptismal Site - the site of Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan - on land generously donated to the diocese by His Majesty King Abdullah. The Archbishop then celebrated a Eucharist and preached on the banks of the Jordan to the assembled congregation.
Finally a visit to the celebrated Ahliyyah School for Girls which is run by the diocese underlined the pastoral priority placed by Bishop Suheil on education, particularly the education and empowerment of young women - both Christians and Muslims. At a reception, attended by many alumni, the success of pupils past and present was celebrated in the presence of members of the government and Royal Family and the Mayor of Amman.
Photographs of the Archbishop's visit (including his meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, his visit to the Jofeh Centre and the Eucharist on the banks of the Jordan) are available on request.