Church Commissioners Written Answer: Christians in the Middle East

On 22nd November 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question on Christians in the Middle East:

Henry Smith (Crawley): To ask the Right Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what discussions the Church Commissioners have had on maintaining the Christian community in the Middle East.

Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church of England continues to work alongside the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem to support the Christian community in Jordan, Syria, Israel, Palestine and Lebanon. The Church also partners and engages with development and mission agencies working to support Christian communities overseas. Regular pilgrimage visits are made by parishes and dioceses of the Church of England, mainly to those holy sites that are not in conflict zones and which often involve meetings with local Christians.

Westminster Abbey will be holding a special service on the 4th December at which His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will attend to offer encouragement to Christians throughout the region and to celebrate the contributions they make to their communities.

The Archbishop of Canterbury made an official visit to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories in 2017, the primary purpose of which was to affirm the Christian community in the Holy Land, to identify and explore challenges relating to religious freedom and to give encouragement to St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. The Archbishop also met with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian politicians during his visit.

During the November parliamentary recess I joined a small group of MPs on a regional visit to see for myself the challenges faced by the Christian community in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. We visited a number of projects that are funded or supported by the Anglican Church, including hospitals and schools. Speaking with the different communities gave a helpful perspective on the significant challenges to the daily lives and movements of people.


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