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Celebrations in Nazareth - Christ Church marks 150 years, 1871-2021

A Report from the Vicar, the Rev Nael Abu Rahmoun

Salaam and greetings to you from the city of the Annunciation and the Incarnation.

I share with you some history and news from Nazareth. Missionaries from the Church Mission Society (CMS) arrived in Nazareth in 1851 and started a school in the old city. They soon formed a community which then became a congregation following the permission of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Samuel Gobat. The congregation used the facility of the school until the consecration of Christ Church on 1st October, 1871.

Christ Church was renovated inside and outside the building, from September 2019 – March 2020. During this time, we used the next-door Convent of the ‘Sisters of Nazareth’ Chapel for worship and other facilities for meetings. The nuns were very kind and generous and we give thanks to God for their ministry.

We have announced 2021 as the year of jubilee, to mark the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the church in Nazareth. We have planned for many events, like concerts and lectures but, due to COVID 19 restriction, we had to cancel many of the events. Although, we enjoyed various concerts either with attendance in Church or by live streaming on Facebook. We still have time for more programs.

On Friday the 1st October 2021, the exact day of the anniversary, the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, our diocesan Bishop Hosam Naoum, presided over the Holy Eucharist and confirmed 20 young people from Christ Church congregation by laying his hands on them. Why did we have a confirmation on the same day of the anniversary? Simply because when the church was consecrated, there was a confirmation as well as the ordinations of three priests.

In his sermon Bishop Naoum said, ‘We gather today to affirm our presence here in the city of the Annunciation Nazareth, so that our ministry will continue for many years to come to spread God’s Kingdom in this world’ He added ‘As a Church today we must be proud, because we are handing to this generation what has been handed down to us. That is the faith through which and by the power of the Holy Spirit we are handing over the torch to this new generation who are the present and future of the Church’.

During the service Mrs. Fadwa Nasser gave thanks for the safe delivery of her newly born, with her husband Edwar, they received a blessing from Bishop Naoum, and the new born Wadie received a special blessing as he was brought to church for the first time. It was a joyful, emotional, memorable and spiritual celebration.

On the first Sunday of October, we gathered again in Christ Church to celebrate Thanksgiving (Harvest) Sunday with all the parishes of the Diocese of Jerusalem. Thanksgiving this year had a different taste as we gave thanks for many gifts and graces we receive continually from the Lord, and especially for the presence and ministry of the church in Nazareth.

We will continue to celebrate the year of Jubilee with more events and programs.

I invite you to visit us as soon as you can, my congregation and I will be glad to welcome you and share with you our stories and spiritual experiences.

Please continue to pray for the peace in the Land of the Holy One, for the ministry of our Diocese of Jerusalem and the witness of Christ Church, Nazareth.

May the Lord bless you and give you joy and peace.

In Christ,

Fr. Nael Abu Rahmoun Vicar of Christ Church Nazareth