During the two weeks of our trip, we will be visiting the most important holy and historical sites in Israel/Palestine, including the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the Mount of Olives, the Sea of Galilee, etc. As we visit these sites, we invite you to read the passages in your Bible that correspond to them.
The other significant portion of our trip, and the portion that separates this trip from most other trips to the region, consists of the visits we will have with a large number of peace and justice organizations. We will be visiting with members of Israeli and Palestinian organizations, with Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Although we have been studying for this trip for months in preparation, seeing the situation firsthand and meeting people who are affected by it will likely have a major impact on us. I trust that God uses such encounters to speak to us. That has certainly been true for me, which is why this is my sixth trip to the area, including the times I lived there.
I invite you to keep the members of our group in your prayers. These include Kay Branum, Suzanne Sweeney, Barbara Ivy, Ron Ivy, Dianne Randolph, Marian Murray, Will Slade, Rev. Dave Eaton, Anne Eaton, Harriet Espinoza, Rick Espinoza, Larry Eshelman, Rev. Phyllis Danhof-Speck, Barb Tuinstra, and I, Rev. Craig Hunter. Please pray that we will have a safe, fun, spirit-filled trip. Please also pray for the people in the region, Jews and Muslims and Christians, Israelis and Palestinians. Pray that we might have peace with justice, and that it might quickly come.
Finally, I would remind you that May 29th through June 4th has been declared by the World Council of Churches to be World Week for Peace in Israel/Palestine. This providentially coincides with our trip. You can find more information about the World Week for Peace, including prayers and liturgical resources, at http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/wwppi.html