Clogher Diocesan initiative to support medical services in Holy Land
Clogher Diocesan initiative to support medical services in Holy Land


The Holy Land Medical Relief Fund is an initiative of two Groups of people from Clogher Diocese and further afield who went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in late 2008 and early 2009 led by certain clergy of Clogher Diocese and me as bishop. Between the two Pilgrimages there occurred the internationally-condemned human suffering of Gaza. The Fund is a response to the need of the people of the Holy Land, as witnessed by the pilgrims and following on from the horrors of Gaza. A group of dedicated lay people has pioneered this initiative and they seek your support in addressing medical needs in particular in the twenty-nine institutions under the auspices of the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Middle East. These institutions cater for medical, nursing and educational needs, including those of children with disability, and are wholly dependent on international aid, freely given, to survive and to develop.

Our original intention was to make a significant contribution towards the provision of a CT Scanner in St Luke’s Hospital, Nablus. Everything, however, moves on. The good news is that the scanner has now been donated in its entirely to the hospital by USAID. This leaves us free to broaden the scope of what we might support in a number of different initiatives. St Luke’s is typical of the work which these healthcare institutions do and the spirit of service and professionalism in which they do so. All our contributions will develop and enhance this work. I hope that in reading the story of St Luke’s Hospital Nablus you will gain some insight into the work of these institutions, and further, will be moved to contribute generously to the Holy Land Medical Relief Fund.

St Luke’s Hospital in Nablus in the Northern West Bank offers and example of the type of work being done. It is one of the most important services of the Diocese of Jerusalem. It is an essential symbol of mutual respect and cooperation in the city of Nablus, where a moderating influence is needed. St Luke’s Hospital provides health care services to the poor and needy, regardless of race or religion.

St Luke’s Hospital was built near the turn of the 19th century by the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The Society had already established medical work in the area, which was incorporated into the new hospital. In 1984, the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem took over the running of the hospital and has continued to sponsor it to this day.

Although the population in Nablus has changed over the last year because of emigration, the hospital is a very important employer, providing Christians and Muslims the opportunity to work together for the Common Good.
Current activities:
1- The aim of the hospital is to enhance the welfare of the local community in a non-commercial manner, and in practical ways to show mutual respect and concern. The hospital’s approach to medical treatment emphases the philosophy of holistic care, which encompasses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient.
2- The hospital treats all who come seeking healthcare, regardless of race, nationality, faith, ability, and financial status. It actively encourages those who are poor and in need to come and be treated.
3- Out-patient activities: The hospital runs a number of out-patient activities like outpatient clinics (medical and surgical), blood tests in the laboratory department, x-ray tests and ultrasounds in the radiology department, and physiotherapy.

4- In-patient activities: In-patients receive the same services as mentioned under 3. Further activities for in-patients include a wide range of operations in three operating theaters, an intensive care unit with four intensive care unit beds, and a maternity department with four incubators in the neonatal department.
5- The hospital also runs community outreach programs, promoting health care and improving the health status of the local community.
A New Vision for the Hospital:

The new vision and restructuring which began last year have yielded tremendous fruits. The hospital staff are very pleased with the new direction under the leadership of Mr. Waliid Quirreh, as is the community which continues to increase its use of the hospital, particularly the newly outfitted Emergency Room and Trauma Center.

Bishop Suheil’s vision for the future development of all diocesan healthcare institutions, and especially St. Luke’s Hospital, includes plans to renovate and update the facilities, purchase vitally needed new equipment, and advance the professional development of the staff. He embarked on this course by appointing Dr. Hisham Nassar to be his Consultant and Coordinator for Healthcare Institutions and Services. Dr Nassar, a Senior Cardiologist at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, is assisting the bishop in working out solutions for St. Luke’s Hospital and other medical institutions of the diocese.


From the above description of the work of St Luke’s Hospital Nablus, you can see the range of work which is envisaged and the professionalism and commitment which are going into the re-structuring for the future. We are privileged to have been given the opportunity to gain insight into this work and to contribute to its progress and development. We should like to invite you – in whatever way is convenient and appropriate to you – to join your personal contribution with ours. Through the Holy Land Medical Relief Fund all contributions can be Gift Aided by contributors in Northern Ireland. No contribution is too small and every donation brings joy to those who are running the Project. Every part of every contribution goes directly to the Holy Land. There are no hidden extras nor are there administrative costs. The Fund exists to serve the needs of those who are willing to be generous in the assurance that your contribution in its entirety goes to those for whom you intend it. Gift Aid-ing can be done in the following way: please make cheques payable to Clogher Diocesan Board of Missions and send to HLMRF, Erne Insurance Services Ltd, 45 Main Street, Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh BT94 1 GL. Please also enclose a short letter, signed and giving your home address: the letter should be as follows: ‘I wish to apply gift aid to the above and all future donations to this project. I understand that I must have paid tax to cover all donations claimed’. Please sign and date.

In commending the Project wholeheartedly to you, I know that I can trust to your recognition of the human need of others and you personal generosity in responding. It is a real way to make a real difference at Christmas-time 2009.

For this I thank you most sincerely,

The Rt Revd Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher

Several pilgrimage participants have donated generously while others are busy fundraising in various ways e.g. a fire-side quiz has raised £1,000 while a coffee morning has raised £600.