Diocese of Jerusalem, the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
On February 12th in the heart of Jordan’s third largest city, Irbid, the Right Rev’d Dr. Suheil Dawani, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem and Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem, laid the cornerstone for the Church of St. Mary-the-Virgin.
Being built on the site of Arab Episcopal School (the focus of AMB’s Lent Appeal last year), the new St. Mary-the-Virgin Church will comfortably seat 200 parishioners providing the space needed for congregational and school growth. The multi service Parish Hall on the lower ground floor of the Church will accommodate 250 persons seated for dinner and can also be utilized for meetings by community groups related to the school. Sunday attendance, according to Vicar Fr. Samir Esaid has averaged between 70 and 80 parishioners including children in the current small chapel.
In a news interview Bishop Dawani said that; “with the growth of our school in serving special needs children, and with the congregation overflowing the Chapel the need for a Church to replace the smaller School Chapel became a high priority in the Diocese. The new Church facilities will enable the school to use the vacated space as well as the new facility to add classrooms for another 250 students and from the inquiries and waiting list, that number will quickly be reached”.
In naming the new Church St. Mary-the-Virgin, the Bishop explained that the Diocese has not had a Church named for the St Mary and that with the school being a family oriented ministry serving children whose sight is impaired, it was appropriate to name its church ‘St. Mary’, honoring the caring love of the Mother of our Lord in the Holy Family.
The building of the new Church reflects the growing ministry of the Diocese and follows on the heels of the recent dedication of a site for a new Church at the historic Baptismal Site of our Jesus in Bethany. This site was gifted to the Diocese by King Abdullah and the dedication took place in the presence of HRH Prince Ghazi Bin Mohammed, the King’s cousin. When completed it will provide a place for Anglicans and others to enjoy spiritual refreshment and reflection with a spectacular view of the heights across the River leading up to the Holy City of Jerusalem.
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