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Saturday, January 05, 2008

 

Jerusalem, February, 2008

My wife, Kris, and I will be travelling to Jerusalem and the West Bank from January 31 - February 8, 2008. The purpose of our visit is to accompany the new bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Rev. Claire S. Burkat, on her first visit to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL - www.elcjhl.org), our Lutheran partner church in the Holy Land, and to express support for Palestinian Lutherans in Jerusalem, Jordan and the West Bank.

While we are there, I will be preaching my Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania Ash Wednesday (February 6) sermons (our worship services here are at 7:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and 7:30 p.m.) from Jerusalem. The theme of my Ash Wednesday sermon will be "Jesus Christ Brings Peace." I will be assisted in this effort by Tim Frakes of Tim Frakes Productions (www.frakesproductions.com), who will accompany us to Jerusalem, and by Jane Jorgensen, Trinity's communication director
(jjorgensen@trinitylansdale.com), back home at Trinity. My sermon will be available for everyone to view on Ash Wednesday via a connection from Trinity's Web site - www.trinitylansdale.com (note that is a .com website).

I will also be blogging here each day, February 1 - 7, from Jerusalem.

Here is what their Web site says about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land: "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land (ELCJHL) is known for its friendliness as it welcomes visitors and pilgrims to the Holy Land from throughout the world. Though Palestinian Christians have been here since the first Pentecost, the roots of the ELCJHL began in the mid 19th century when German and English missionaries came to teach and minister to the local people. Five of our six congregations are in Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Bethlehem area, and one is in Amman, Jordan. The churches in Amman and Ramallah are made up largely of families of refugees who fled their homes at the time of the tragic wars that followed the formation of Israel. We also operate four schools and four additional education programs."

Another very important area ministry supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) and the Lutheran World Federation (www.lutheranworld.org) is the Augusta Victoria Hospital (www.avh.org). In 2007, Trinity's Women of the ELCA group gave a grant to this hospital. Trinity also made grants to the Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah, one of the ELCJHL's four schools, and to Bishop Younan's Bishop's Fund in 2007.

We also hope to link additional video from the Holy Land to Trinity's Web site. If possible, we will have an interview with the Rev. Munib Younan, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and Vice President of the Lutheran World Federation. Bishop Younan visited Trinity in January of 2007. You can see four videos from Bishop Younan's Trinity visit on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl9-GCluJCI and www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py7y4Ztdc3A and www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjwfIftRZnY and www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-BhePYhOCs . There's more on Bishop Younan's trip to Lansdale on the ELCJHL's Web site at
www.elcjhl.org/news/2007/jan.asp . Bishop Younan's sermon and speech from his Trinity visit are also online at www.trinitylansdale.com/younan.html .

We also hope to have a video interview with the Rev. and Mrs. Mark & Marcia Holman, new ELCA missionaries serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. Trinity has just decided to sponsor the Holmans. They will be the third missionaries supported by Trinity (the others are the Rev. Lee Berry with "On Eagle's Wings" in northern Canada and Dr. & Mrs. Mark & Linda Jacobson in Tanzania).

Others on this trip (in addition to Bishop Burkat, Tim Frakes and Eric & Kris Shafer) include
* The Rev. Dr. Phil Krey, President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Philadelphia, and his wife Rene (who serves as Registrar of that seminary);
* Bishop Dean Nelson of the Southwest California Synod (Los Angeles area);
* Bishop John Schreiber of the Southeast Michigan (Detroit area) Synod and his assistant, the Rev. Jack Eggleston;
* Mary Beth Nowak and Marcia Johnson of the ELCA churchwide office staff in Chicago.

Eric

Comments:
Your Holy Land trip plans looks splendid, Eric. We will look for video via Tim Frakes' web site and link from my blog: "A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace." Blessings of Epiphany light and peace to the whole group, several of whom are certainly longtime friends. This is very exciting, and inspiring to me as I finalize plans for our June 9-18 trip to Palestine and Israel.
Ann Hafften
 
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