Companionship Agreement

COMPANIONSHIP AGREEMENT

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)

The history of ELCJHL goes back to the first Lutheran-Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Michael S. Alexander, consecrated on January 21, 1841, but its members and congregations are rooted in the centuries of Christian tradition in the Holy Land. The church has had strong links to Lutheran churches in Germany, but in recent years also to the Nordic countries and the United States.

The church has six congregations in Jerusalem and Ramallah, in Bethlehem, Beit-Sahour and Beit-Jala as well as in Amman. In addition to the normal congregational life – with worship, women and children ministries as well as diaconal and social services – the ELCJHL has a particular educational ministry with five schools serving more than 3000 children. The ELCJHL is also engaged in efforts to strengthen the unity among the churches, as well as in dialogue with Muslims and Jews and in a ministry of reconciliation among people in conflict. The church headquarters are located in the Redeemer’s Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Purpose of the Partnership

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are both part of the universal church of Jesus Christ, and share a common Evangelical-Lutheran heritage as well as an ecumenical vision. For many years there have been links between the two churches, and this agreement is one way to deepen that relationship. The purpose of our partnership is

• To strengthen Christian unity, and deepen the communion between the two churches,
• To strengthen the identity of the local church as part of the universal Church, and
• To promote the mission of our churches in their respective societies.

Commitments

To realize the purpose of the partnership we mutually commit ourselves to:
• Develop and deepen our partnership through
o Mutual intercession for one another
o Exchange of information
o Mutual visits. The ELCJHL and its congregations shall be a natural home for groups from the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and vice versa.
• Engage local congregations in the partnership
• Appoint a contact person to facilitate communication and co-ordination
• Evaluate the partnership after five years.

Commitment to Prayer and Co-operation

Today we commit ourselves to pray for one another and to lift up our churches and people in intercession before God.

Following the signing of this agreement we look forward to a period of deepening our already close relationship and coming even closer to one another.

The Lutheran congregations in the Holy Land have a special place and ministry within the world wide Lutheran family. This partnership agreement is signed at a time of conflict in the Holy Land and with much suffering among its people. We therefore conclude with the words of Psalm 72 as our prayer and our common witness to the risen Lord Jesus Christ:

He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.
He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers on the earth.
He will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no-one to help.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
For precious is their blood in his sight.

May His Name endure forever, may it continue as long as the sun.
All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
May the whole earth be filled with his glory.

We commit our hopes and plans for this partnership to God in prayer.