Bearing Witness Sessions

Each of the five Bearing Witness program sessions is grounded in a Gospel passage about a theme of Jesus’s ministry and features a Palestinian or American priest reflecting on the scripture. Each session presents videos, filmed on location in Palestine, Israel and Jordan, that illuminate everyday life in the Holy Land and how Diocese of Jerusalem ministries respond to the needs of people of all religions, ethnicities and economic circumstances.

Discerning your path to deeper engagement with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem

Bearing Witness is meant to be a transformative experience that moves program participants to action, so we provide a process for individual, group and church-wide discernment and action. Each program session includes a video conversation with a U.S. church that has established a lasting relationship with a Diocese of Jerusalem school, hospital or rehabilitation center. These lively discussions include the leaders of the diocese ministries and provide powerful models of deep and enduring engagement between faith communities in the U.S. and our Christian sisters and brothers in the Holy Land.

For each of the five Bearing Witness program sessions we also provide these PDF guides:

  • Facilitator Session Guide. Provides session goals and objectives, opening and closing prayers, group activities and norms, background and discussion prompts for each video, guides for leading scripture study, optional scripts for explaining key concepts, and resources for further study.
  • Participant Session Guide. Gives participants direction on pre-work to be completed before the session, reflection questions to guide viewing of session videos, and articles and websites for further study.
  • Getting to Know the Holy Land. In-depth guides to places where Bearing Witness videos were filmed: Jerusalem, Gaza, Ramallah, Nazareth, Israel, Jordan. We also provide a guide to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. These cover history, everyday life and current-day challenges, economy, geography, religions and education. They include maps, profiles and where to find each place in scripture.
  • Diocese of Jerusalem Ministries. Overviews of the three main types of humanitarian ministries owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem: schools, hospitals, and centers for children with disabilities.
Many people walk on the sidewalk in a busy city scene


This session connects the story of Jesus speaking in the synagogue where he claims his identity with the many and varied identities of people living in the Holy Land today. 

A nurse stands over a newborn baby cradle in the hospital


Stepping through the gates at Ahli Hospital in Gaza City is like touching the hem of Jesus’ outer cloak. You don’t need to be an insider, disciple, or someone rich or important to receive care.

Two young chefs in red hats smile in front of the buffet line


These schools allow for the growth of their students – like tiny mustard seeds that grow to be sheltering trees – into confident, compassionate, bridge-building Palestinian leaders of the future.

A teacher stands in front of the class with a young student by her side.

Breaking Barriers

In this session you will learn how Diocese of Jerusalem institutions help children and youth with disabilities and their families break down barriers and overcome obstacles to lead productive lives with dignity and respect.

Teenagers stand in front of a mural posing with video camera equipment

Building Hope

This session focuses on Arab citizens of Israel, who face many challenges and roadblocks to employment, education, housing, and economic opportunity and concludes with where people of the wider region find hope for the future.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Your ongoing generosity allows AFEDJ to provide continued support for the Bearing Witness program at no cost to you. Your donation builds hope, nurtures resilience, and transforms lives in the Holy Land, sustaining the vital efforts of the institutions we serve throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Please make a gift today.