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Christians could disappear from Jerusalem because of COVID-19 The international community of the holy sepulchre's MAY 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Supporters,

In lieu of our monthly newsletter, I am writing to you today with an urgent appeal to support Christian families in the Holy Land.

Normally hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists would flock to Jerusalem and Bethlehem at this time of year to celebrate Easter and Pentecost. Local families depend on this busy tourist season for their yearly income, yet not a single pilgrim was able to celebrate Easter or Pentecost in the Holy Land this year.

Where local Christians are concerned, the coronavirus is not only affecting their health, it is devastating livelihoods that have been passed down for generations. With family businesses under threat, we are facing a devastating exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.

A Christian family in Jerusalem prayers at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was closed to worshippers for much of the Easter season. Credit: Studio Sami

As recorded in the Book of Acts, 5,000 new believers joined the Jerusalem church on Pentecost. Although Christianity has grown around the world ever since, today the number of Christians in Jerusalem is in precipitous decline.

Church leaders in the Holy Land — Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant — work tirelessly to minister to and protect the faithful that remain. Now more than ever, these church leaders need your help. You have an indispensable role to play in securing a future for the Christian community in the very place where the faith was born.

As this pandemic creates havoc, economic ruin and potentially terminal damage, we are redoubling our efforts to support our Christian brothers and sisters. ICoHS has launched a new web portal for our Hope for the Holy Land campaign and we are inviting you to partner with us in this effort.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem asked us to share the following words with you:

"We are prayerful that this Hope for the Holy Land Campaign will lift this community out of financial devastation and restore dignity to parents and their children who have lost most of their income.”

Your generous gift of any amount will directly impact Christian families and help preserve their presence in the Holy Land, the ancestral home of our faith. Donate today by using Stewardship (UK) or Signatry (US).

All monies will be allocated to the most vulnerable families with the help of the Churches of Jerusalem.

We do not know when this crisis will end, but we do know that it will end. Until then, we need your help to ensure that the Christian community can continue to live and thrive in the Holy Land.

The International Community of the Holy Sepulchre helps the Churches in the Holy Land raise international awareness of the challenges that Christians face in the region while promoting the flourishing of all people in the Middle East. To learn more, visit us at www.icohs.org.