JMECA , based at Farnham Castle in Surrey, is the charity supporting the Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East; our Parish has financially backed its work for many years and will continue to do so with part of our offertories at Easter.
The Province is enormous stretching from Cyprus in the West to Yemen and Oman in the East and embraces Israel, the Holy Land and, Palestine, the Gulf States and Iran.
Formerly known as the Archdiocese of Jerusalem, in 1976 it was divided into four distinct Diocese, each with a Bishop who take in turns to be the President of the Province: At the time of writing, the Archbishop of Jerusalem is the most Reverend Michael Lewis who is also the Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf.
Since 2020 the Jerusalem and Middle East Province has changed to the three Diocese of Jerusalem, Cyprus and the Gulf and Iran, whilst the Diocese of Egypt is now the biggest constituent of the new Province of Alexandria which also embraces Algeria, Tunisia and Libya in North Africa and in the horn of Africa Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.
The Diocese of Iran is extremely difficult for Christians as extreme Moslem fervour post the revolution has meant that the minority Christian community has been scattered; no Bishop is in post at the moment.
The Diocese of Jerusalem includes Palestine and Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan: Archbishop Suheil Dawani is the presiding Bishop in Jerusalem and the entire area of his responsibility is subject to political pressures which frequently cause outbreaks of violence, whilst the well publicised events in Syria/Iraq are a constant cause for concern and prayer.
The third Diocese is The Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. As its title implies, the Diocese is based in Cyprus and boasts one of the tiniest Cathedrals in the Anglican Communion with a pro-Cathedral in Bahrein, both Bahrein and Cyprus are, of course islands, increasing the problems of communication. As well as Bahrein, the Diocese covers Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE (United Arab Emirates) Oman and Yemen with a token presence in Saudi-Arabia. With the exception of war-torn Iraq, none of the Gulf States has indigenous Christians in significant numbers but, very large migrant congregations made up of people from the Asian sub-continent, Thailand and the Philippines, as well as from Britain and the USA. There is increasingly more tolerance of Christianity, and of some other faiths, than was previously the case and churches have been established in most States but not, of course, in Saudi-Arabia where there is, surprisingly, an active expatriate Congregation..