Today we started our day with an excellent meeting with Bishop Suheil Duwani, Bishop of Jerusalem. He was just back from a visit to Gaza and a difficult day cutting staff in a place that is already dreadfully understaffed and undersupplied. He shared with us the many ministries within this diocese. The Diocese of Olympia has had a long and committed partner relationship with Jerusalem and I personally committed to Bishop Duwani that we wished to reaffirm and strengthen that relationship. Several of our Pilgrims presented Bishop Duwani with monetary gifts from their parishes and dioceses and Dale and Diane Rammerman of Christ Church, Anacortes and the Komo Kulshan Cluster were among them
After our meeting with Bishop Duwani, we traveled to Nablus, in the West Bank, where we we were the guests of St. Philip’s Church, and the Rev. Ibrahim Nairouz and his congregation. We heard their history, and they fed us a very good meal.
Nablus is a bustling town. This video is from our drive to the church through the main center. If you cannot hear the video the protest I filmed was about Facebook and other social media especially dealing with porn and the misuse of social media for these things.
After our meeting and lunch at St. Philip’s we crossed town to the Orthodox Church where Jacob’s well is the shrine. We saw the well, drew water from it, drank the water, and then moved on. It is interesting that one shrine in this church is the remains of the priest who brought the church back to life and was then murdered by an Israeli settler in the 1980s.
We traveled back to Jerusalem and St. Peter in Gallincantu, which means “Cock’s crow” which houses the cave believed to have housed Jesus and eventually also Peter and John. It is where Peter’s denials of Christ in the last days is commemorated (Mark 14: 72) Here Bishop James Magness presided and I preached. It is a very beautiful modern church built over the caves believed to be the prison. In the caves, inscriptions of the Jerusalem cross were found in the walls.
We emerged from our Eucharist at dusk with an amazing view of the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley.
After our Eucharist, we called it a day and returned to St. George Guest House for the evening. There, we met with a wonderful woman doing some amazing work in educating the children of Gaza, dinner, and then night prayers.
One of the more ubiquitous signs of the occupation are the signs which are posted at the entry of every Palestinian controlled town. This is one, they are everywhere!
“For his is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man, out of two, thus making peace and to reconcile them both into one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed.”
Ephesians 2: 14-16
We find it hard to believe that our last full day is tomorrow, and we prepare for that.