Friday, March 21, 2008

Katherine Jefferts Schori in Palestine

Lots of good news about the Holy Week visit of Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori to Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian lands. Several links are provided here.

The top story -

A series of links to other articles -

[An excerpt from Sunday's story]
Presiding Bishop preaches in Jerusalem, shares in Palm Sunday celebrations

Anglican Bishop Suheil Dawani welcomes Jefferts Schori to the Holy Land
By Matthew Davies -
March 16, 2008 [Episcopal News Service]

Marking the annual Palm Sunday celebrations and the start of a week-long visit to the Holy Land, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made Anglican history on March 16 becoming the first woman bishop ever to preach at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.

The Presiding Bishop's visit to the Holy Land comes at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, who was consecrated Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem in January 2006.

The morning Eucharist, celebrated in Arabic and English, was preceded by the blessing of palm branches and a procession from St. George’s College Square into the Cathedral, located on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem. "We joined in a remarkable multicultural worship experience today -- Arabic and English speaking Christians celebrating Palm Sunday in the midst of East Jerusalem, with palm and olive branches, singing old standard Holy Week hymns in both languages," said Jefferts Schori reflecting on the service.

The main objective of her visit, Jefferts Schori says, is to explore ways the U.S.-based Episcopal Church can be more supportive of and helpful to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and to strengthen relationships with the declining Christian population in the Holy Land. There are currently around 5,000 Anglicans throughout the diocese, which extends over five countries -- Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria -- within the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Throughout the week, the Presiding Bishop will meet with religious leaders, Israeli and Palestinian human rights advocates, and join Eastertide services, observances and celebrations, including the traditional Maundy Thursday Foot Washing, Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, and Holy Saturday's Easter Vigil. On Easter Sunday, she will offer greetings at the morning Eucharist at St. George's Cathedral.

Stir things up for peace

Addressing an overflow congregation at St. George's Cathedral, which some identify as the Anglican Communion's mother church, Jefferts Schori acknowledged that "in this land called holy, we still wait for that prince of peace.

"We still seek a Lord who will work a reconciled peace with justice, here and around the globe," she said, noting that it is no surprise that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole town was in turmoil. "Who is this prophet? He promises another kind of kingdom, another realm where there will be no longer be any hungry or sick or imprisoned ones, no unemployed, none who are segregated from their neighbors and treated with a different justice because of ethnicity or religion.

"The turmoil Jesus stirred up, she said, ended in his execution. "That is part of the invitation Jesus offers each of us, to pick up our cross, to die to self, to proclaim the word of God in Jesus and that divine dream of peace, and to be willing to die to everything else," she said. "Stir things up, for this world certainly hasn’t yet reached that divine dream of shalom. And, yes, recognize that death will be involved. There is no possibility of new life, of resurrection, without death. We will never know a healed world unless the systems that depend on violence or armed guards to maintain them die."

The Presiding Bishop's conclusion included an invitation to share in Jesus' journey of sacrifice, "of making-holy this yet unhealed world. His road into the eternal city of peace leads past the cross. It includes turmoil and threat, but it is meant to be answered by the methods of peace -- palm branches, donkeys, truth-telling, and the unexpected wind of the spirit."

On March 17, the Presiding Bishop and her delegation will visit B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization; Sabeel, an ecumenical liberation theology center; and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Video from Gaza:

Video featuring Naim Ateek:

Video update from ecumenical officer Christopher Epting:

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