Christian leaders in the holy land

Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani

On April 15, 2007 the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani was installed and welcomed as the 14th Anglican bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

In 2001, Bishop Elect Suheil Dawani 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, and 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. Bishop Elect Suheil Dawani is very committed to work hard for the future of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East: "With the support of my colleagues, friends, and family, I have committed myself before God to dedicate myself to utilize my utmost efforts and experience to revive our Church and to enhance the rich Christian faith in the lives of our people.

Upon  being elected as bishop, Bishop Dawani stated that it is his objective to serve the Church, the people, and the parish, and to involve more lay people in the spiritual and social life of the Church and the parish," focusing his vision especially on the following aspects:

1. The development of pastoral ministry to achieve the Church's mission;

2. The family: to encourage good family relationships, strong family bonds and Christian education, and to involve the family in the Church and its activities;

3. Youth: to develop youth programs, developmental programs, youth leadership programs, summer conferences, volunteering committees, youth exchange programs, employment opportunities, and the integration of youth into all the aspects of the church;

4. Women: to create equal opportunities for women, to encourage them to participate on the boards of the institutions of the Church and its committees, and to dedicate special local and international workshops and conferences to pastors' spouses;

5. Administration;

6. Property and Investment;

7. Laws and Regulations;

8. And Public Relations.

The Rt. Rev’d Bishop Suheil Salman Dawani was consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in January, 2006, and he was installed as Diocesan and the 14th Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem on April 15, 2007. He was born in Nablus, West Bank in 1951 and is married to Shafeeqa Fu'ad Massad; they have three daughters, Sama, Tala, and Luban.  

In 1976, after graduating with a B.A. from the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Bishop Dawani was ordained Deacon and served at St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1977, he served for eight years at St. Andrew’s parish in Ramallah and St. Peter’s, Bir Zeit.  In 1985, he took his family to Virginia, USA where he earned his M.A. at Virginia Theological Seminary.  Returning to his home diocese, he became vicar of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Haifa, and in 1989, began the Doctor of Divinity program at Virginia Theological Seminary where he completed eighty percent of the program before being recalled to the Diocese. 

In 1992, Bishop Dawani again served in the Ramallah and Bir-Zeit parishes, where he remained until 1997. During that time he founded the ecumenical center, helped establish the first evangelical scouts group with the Lutheran Church, worked with leaders of the churches in Ramallah to unite major Christian feasts, and began construction of a housing project for young Christian couples.

In 1997, Bishop Dawani was elected as the General Secretary of the Diocese and began service at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem as the Canon pastor of the Arabic speaking congregation. Here he continued his ecumenical and interfaith work with other Jerusalem churches and organized six summer camps for Muslim and Christian children. In the summer of 2001, the bishop led the first Jewish-Arab group to Camp Allen in Houston Texas, under the name “Kids for Peace.”  

In 2004 he returned for the third time to St. Andrew’s, Ramallah, where he remained until his installation as Diocesan Bishop on April 15, 2007, the same year he was granted his Doctor of Divinity from Virginia Seminary. 

Given the complexities of managing a diocese in a multicultural, multi-faith, multi-ethnic, diocese spread across five countries, The Right Rev’d Suheil Dawani is a strong advocate for peace and reconciliation.  A significant member of many ecumenical and interfaith organizations, he works with the Archbishop of Canterbury on interfaith issues.  One of the thirteen recognized Heads of Churches in Israel, Bishop Dawani faithfully encourages leaders of the Churches to make every effort to strengthen the Christian presence as a moderate and mediating Body in a region torn by anxiety and unrest.