Drama was the result of the elections for the Coadjutor Bishop of The Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East that was held on 15 June 2005, in Amman, Jordan. At the end of the second round, Canon Suhail Dawani from Ramallah was elected as the new Bishop.
The Episocal Diocese of Jerusalem covers Israel, Jordan, The Palestinian Authority, Syria and Lebanon. It is a member of the Central synod of Cyprus and the Gulf, Iran, Egypt and Jerusalem and the Middle East.
The Constitution of the Diocese states that when the Bishop reaches the age of 68, a coadjutor Bishop should be elected to work alongside for the period of two years. The Current Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East is the Rt. Rev. Bishop Riah Abu-Assal of Nazareth. He has publicly supported Canon Kamal Farah for the post.
The three candidates in the elections were Rev. Canon Kamal Farah, from Biraam village in upper Galilee, Rev. Canon Suhail Dawani from Ramallah, and Rev. Fayeq Hadad from Amman Jordan. The first round ended with no winner, so a second round was needed with only Canon Farah and Canon Dawani running. In this round bishop Dawani received 47 votes while his rival got 34 only.
The first Anglicans arrived in the Holy Land in 1841. The Cathedral of St. George was built in 1898 and the first Palestinian Anglican Bishop took charge of the Diocese in 1976.
And even though the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is one of the smaller churches in the Middle East with only 7000 Anglicans, it is a very active church with 35 service institutions, 29 parishes, 1500 employees, 200 hospital beds and 6000 students.
The following is the Curriculum Vitae of Bishop- Elect Suheil Dawani as it appeared in a special booklet prepared for the elections.
Rev Canon Suheil Dawani was born in Nablus, West Bank in 1951, married to Shafeeqa Fu'ad Massad; they have three daughters Sama, Tala, and Luban.
He completed his primary and secondary education in Nablus, obtained his associate degree in Arts in 1973 from Bir-Zeit College at that time, graduated from the New East School of Theology in Beirut in 1975 with a B TH.
In 1976 he was ordained as deacon and served the community of Jerusalem for eight months.
In 1977 he was ordained to priesthood and served Ramallah and Bir-Zeit parishes in the West Bank.
In 1985 he joined Virginia Theological Seminary, where he got a degree of Master in Theology.
In 1987 he was moved to Haifa, north of the Country, to serve the community of St. John's Episcopal Church.
In 1992, he was moved again to serve the community in Ramallah, and Bir-Zeit. During that time he:
1. Founded the ecumenical center;
2. Started a housing project for the young Christian couples with thirty-three apartments;
3. Was able with the leaders of the Churches in Ramallah to unite the main Christian feasts;
4. Established the first evangelical scouts group with the Lutheran Church.
In the year 1989 he joined the Virginia Theological Seminary again for the degree of the Doctor in Ministry program. He was able to finish three summers with pastoral counseling exam, because of continuous moving he couldn't complete the degree.
In the year 1997, he was moved to serve St. George's Cathedral, and was elected as the General Secretary of the Diocese. He is still its secretary.
In Jerusalem, the ecumenical fellowship was strengthened with the Lutheran and Catholic Churches. St. George's sponsored six summer camps consequently where Moslem and Christian children attended.
In 1998 the first scholarship fund had been established with the generous contribution of the Habibi family, which hundreds of Christian students had benefited.
In the year 2001, he led the first Jewish Arab group to Camp Allen in Houston Texas, under the name 'Kids for Peace'.
He is the chairman of the Helen Keller board in Jerusalem, a member in the Clergy for Peace Group, in the council of the Dialogue between Faiths. He served for six years as a member in the Central Synod of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
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