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Update on our Companion Links
06/08/18
Bethlehem Syrian Orthodox School

Companion Links is the commitment made in 2001 by the Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Lands; the Anglican Diocese of Kaduna, Nigeria and the Diocese of Coventry, England, to enter into a spiritual partnership. Seventeen years on, this partnership is still strong.

On the 8th January 2001, Bishop Colin Bennetts (previous Bishop of Coventry), Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon (Bishop of Kaduna) and Metropolitan Mar Sewerios Malki Murad (Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Lands) met in Jerusalem to sign an agreement “to trust one another, to be honest with one another, to share with one another, and to be ready to learn from one another, and to encourage our diocese to do likewise”.  Soon after the agreement was signed, various projects were set up in the different dioceses.

Three major projects have been undertaken in Kaduna - teaching and the establishment of a computer classroom in an Anglican College, supplying 10,000 plus primary age children with books and the current project of the Kaduna Water Wells. The need for water wells in this region is high with infant mortality rates still close to 25%. Each year Kaduna Diocese plants a church in rural areas of the diocese. This usually results in a church/ school being built and an evangelist being appointed. The Diocese of Coventry attempts to put a water well in each new village. By the end of 2017 54 wells has been built and a further 3 are being dug in 2018. In order to maintain the link between Kaduna and Coventry, a number of exchanges have occurred over the years. Ann and Jim Saxton have visited many times and have met with priests and teachers to train them in I.T skills, as well as meeting the Well Committee. 

In the Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Lands, the main project set up was the Syrian Orthodox Christian School. For many years the Syrian Orthodox Christian community in Bethlehem dreamed of a school of their own where their traditions and especially the Aramaic language - the language Jesus spoke - could be taught. In 2000, a group of pilgrims from the Diocese of Coventry visited the community in Bethlehem and witnessed the plight of the children. Soon after the link with the Syrian Orthodox Diocese of Jerusalem, Jordan and the Holy Lands was established a support group was set up to raise funds to help realise the community’s dream. In 2003 the school opened. Today the school has 640 students enrolled from kindergarten to grade twelve. Many individuals and churches from the Diocese of Coventry support the school financially which enables students from low incomes to attend.

To find out more about our companion links and how you can get involved see the new Companion Links section of the website.

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