Today, we moved from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.   The sun has finally come out and it was a beautiful day.  Before leaving Bethlehem and the West Bank we went to a section of the separation wall that snakes through this land.  This is our Olympia group at that site.

holy land wall 2015

We moved from there to Eucharist at the 9:30 service at St. George’s Cathedral, our Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem and the seat of Archbishop Suheil Dawani.  His titel and office was just recently changed to Archbishop from Bishop.  It was a great joy to serve with him at the altar, along with my colleagues Bishop Smith, (Arizona) and Bishop Beisner (Northern California) .  We were all warmly welcomed and we encountered many other tours on this day.   Archbishop Dawani met with our group after the service.  He told us more about the diocese and his dreams for tit and the region itself.  He mentioned the long standing companion relationship held with Olympia.  Both Bishop Beisner and myself brought money to give him. We ate lunch at St. George’s and then traveled to Vad Hashem, the Holocaust memorial.  This is always quite moving and today was no different.  This visit was made even more interesting, ironic, eery, due to hundreds of Israeli Defense Force young people going through the museum.

WE traveled from there to the Eim Karem village which is the stie of the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary, and where the Magnificat is traditionally believed to have been first sung or spoken. This church is beautiful and they were awaiting the Japanese consulate.  But we got in before he arrived.

magnificat

Mary Ascending

This is Zacharia!  Scary

 

 

Zacharria

We then traveled to our hotel, the Gloria, in the old city, Christian quarter. We walked to dinner at Notre Dame, and then stayed there for a very moving presentation by two men I met last year from a group called Parent’s Circle.  This group is all over the world, and the US group President lives in Seattle.  These two had us all in tears again.  The group moves completely beyond religious and political ideology. They are held together by the bonds of loss they have experienced.  All have lost children in the struggle between Israel/Palestine.  I hope to share more and write more about this as the days go on and even after returning.

It was an amazing day!

 

Blessings,

+Greg