A service of rededication has taken place at St Saviour’s Church, in Acre in northern Israel, which was closed in the late 1940s.
rededication follows the re-opening and re-dedication of St Paul's
Church in West Jerusalem in 2011 – which was closed around the same
There are also plans to begin the renovation of a third church
closed in the late 1940s - St. Peter's in Jaffa-Tel Aviv.
The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Reverend Suheil
Dawani, in his sermon, expressed overwhelming “happiness, gladness and
gratitude” and said the revival of the church and its activities will be
a beacon of hope and faith.
“This evening we, the Anglican Diocese of
Jerusalem, with our sister churches, and the people in Acre, although we
are from different backgrounds and affiliations, unite together to
celebrate this important and historic event of rededication of this
spiritual place after so many years of waiting. God has empowered us to
revive God's house of prayer, and to re-open it as a space of welcome to
all people without exception.”
The ancient city of Acre expanded at
the beginning of the 20th century to a population of around 9,000; it
had six mosques and five churches. The Anglican ministry was started in
Acre by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) when a school for boys was
opened in 1874 and a school for girls was opned in 1887. The two schools
In 1886, the first church committee meeting was held to
elect a Pastorate Committee; the church's ministry included education,
healthcare, and rehabilitation, especially among the needy. English
lessons were held and there was regular Bible Study. As for the medical
ministry, a small clinic was developed to a small hospital in the old
Ten years later the hospital was closed and later the school as
well. At the beginning of the 1940s the Pastorate Committee bought a
piece of land in order to start a new church building with the help of
parishioners and their generosity. The foundation stone was laid in
August 1946 and the church building was ready for use by January 1947.
However after the war of 1948 the majority of the parishioners at Saint
Saviour's left the city and the church was soon closed.
Archbishop Dawani expressed hope for its future after the
rededication: “Our Christian theology invites us - even though we are
diverse in worship, liturgy and theological thinking - to be one body in
Christ Jesus. We are to reach out to those other religions, Muslims and
Jews. We do not claim that we have no differences: on the contrary, it
is natural to have this kind of diversity. We share in worshiping the
one living God and our conviviality for the sake of true humanity which
leads us to goodness, security, justice, peace, and prosperity for all.
One of the basic needs that all the world strives for today - especially
here in the Middle East which suffers so much through war, violence and
extremism - is for a real peace that restores true humanity. The
spectrum of the tragedy and the bitterness of suffering causes people to
fear what the future will hold for them."
“There is a dire need for a new education that teaches people to
respect life and to perceive the human person to be of a sacred value
because we are all created in the image and likeness of God,” he went
“This new education will provide healing to the wounds of our
bleeding humanity and restore relationships of broken societies. History
has proved that war breeds war, violence breeds violence; yet we know
too that peace can bring peace. Reviving the ministry of this church and
its activities is to engage, share, and join together in God's mission
in the world. We are to be bridge builders for love and mutual
understanding. We are to strengthen the bonds of unity. We are to live
together among the different monotheistic religions to the glory of God
and service of humanity.”