Sunday, July 31, 2016

Appalachia/Dungannon 2016 Photos

Some photos from our mission trip

Appalachian Mission Trip - Day 5 (Kerigan Lindmeier)

Recorded at Kingsport, TN in the Pizza Hut parking lot with Kerigan Lindmeier a first year participant.

This blog is very interesting, because Kerigan is very interesting. She is full of energy and embodies the Christian spirit of using her hands and feet to do mission work.  Kerigan talks about worksite activities, other Wednesday activities (bowling, Walmart, Pizza Hut) and the accidental slappin’ incident.

Kerigan Lindmeier

Appalachian Mission Trip - Day 4 (Laura Carlson)

Recorded at Kingsport, TN in the Pizza Hut parking lot Laura Carlson, one of our first year participants, discusses the morning routine, travels to and from site, working with tools and parking lot noise.

Click here to listen to Laura's audio blog

Laura Carlson

Appalachian Mission Trip - Day 3 (Ragan Hurd)

Day 3 of the 2016 Dungannon Mission Trip

Recorded in Scott County, Va in the Phoenix Center Audio Studio (aka food pantry.)  Ragan Hurd, a first year participant updates us about day 3.  Wake-up (breakfast, lunch preparation), work site, dinner, evening Reflection and Compline

Click here to listen to Ragan's blog

Ragan Hurd

Appalachian Mission Trip - Day 1 and 2 (Boriana Bakaltcheva)


Boriana Bakaltcheva, a first year chaperone takes about what happened the first two days of the mission trip including: the commissioning service at St. Timothy's, leaving at the crack of dawn this next morning, highway travels, the Carter Family Fold, Natural Tunnel State Park and the first compline.  Recorded outside with the crickets and other night creatures of Scott County.

Click here to listen to Boriana's blog

Boriana Bakaltcheva

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 10 -- Father Jim -- The Church of St. Peter (Jesus' prison and place where he was scourged) and a trip to the mouth of Hezekiah's tunnel through the neighborhood of Silwan

In the 37th chapter of the Book of Genesis the writer describes a scene where Joseph is looking for his older brothers, he has a message from their father, Jacob.  Lost and wandering Joseph comes upon a stranger and asks him where the other sons of Jacob are.  "In Dothan" the man answers and events are set in place.  Joseph is sold into slavery, taken to Egypt where he flourishes after many trials. His family joins him there after a devastating drought, and eventually Moses brings the people out of Egypt, to the promised land, and the inaugurating narrative of the Jewish people is complete.  None of this could have happened if the stranger hadn't come upon the wandering boy.  Lawrence Kushner, rabbi and Kabbalah scholar, says that the stranger was a "malak, " an angel.

This afternoon Mary, John and I went looking for the mouth of the tunnel built by King Hezekiah.  It is the channel cut in the rock from the 8th century BCE, but it flows from the primeval Gihon Spring up to the pool of Siloam, where Jesus used mud to heal a blind man. There was a time when one could enter the tunnel from the south end, where we were, up toward the pool.  But no longer, as this end was barricaded off by the Jerusalem Authority.  Now the only way is to enter is to buy a ticket and approach from the upper end.

So anyway, we got lost looking for this tunnel, which is in the village of Silwan, the original site of the city of David.  Somehow we found ourselves slipping and sliding along a very narrow goat path down a very steep slope.  It was bad until John called out, "look out for the mud!"  Then it got worse.

We struggled until we found ourselves literally in the door yard of a very modest home.  Just as we began to ponder our next move a "malak" popped his head out the door.  "Where are you from? Come, come. Would you like a cup of coffee?"  We spent the next half hour hosted by our new friend, Waseem, his sister and his mother.  Afterwards we were shown several other archeological sites, the tombs of Solomon's wives (see picture below), and the place where Solomon was anointed king.  It was a unique afternoon for us, drinking coffee in the modest home of an Arab Muslim family in the heart of the oldest settlement in the city of Jerusalem.  None of this would have happened if we hadn't got lost. 

Daniel Boone once said he never got lost, which is all well and good.  But if you never get lost, there's no chance you'll never be found.  We certainly had an afternoon we won't forget.

A section of the village of Silwan where the tombs of Solomon's wives are.

Day 11 - Stations of the Cross, Eucharist at Emma's

Day 10 - Gethsemane, Beth-Phage, Dominus Flevit, St. Peter in Galicanto and the Armenian Quarter

Our group took a trip through Jesus' last days and the slideshow author visited the Armenian Quarter.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Day 9 - Jim Papile - Ein Karem

Church of John the Baptist and Church of the Visitation, Ein Karem, on the southern edge of Jerusalem. Ein Karem, which means Spring of the Vineyard.  it is a very well-to-do Jewish neighborhood now, before the 1948 arrival of the official state of Israel it was an Arab neighborhood of some size.  In the early spring of 1948 in was the scene of considerable fighting, with the Israeli Army finally getting the upper hand.  Much of the village, and all of the village next door. Deir Yassin was destroyed.  Ein Karem is now a beautiful upscale neighborhood, Deit Yassin is a forlorn looking ghost town, some still standing, but in ruins. We were told that Israeli architecture students study the derelict houses as example of Arab homes pre 1948 war.

In Ein Karem there are two churches, that of St. John and that of the Visitation.  The Church of the Visitation is the prettier of the two, but harder to get to, as one must climb a steep hill side on ancient, slick paving stones.  It was lovey inside, and there was a stunning wall outside that had large marble plaques, in many languages, of the Magnificat, the words found in Luke's Gospel where Mary proclaims her willingness to bear the God-child.

Most compelling for me, though was a statue outside of the pregnant Elizabeth meeting the pregnant Mary.   Their appearances are very similar, and not just because of the sameness of the bronze, or that  they were dressed just the same.  Same flowing gown, same head scarf, and upon looking closely the slight protrudenances  of their bellies.  But their faces were very different.  Elizabeth was tired.  This pregnancy was wearing her out.  She was not a young woman, and the idea of chasing a toddler around must have felt overwhelming.  Concern showed around her eyes.  She was old enough, had seen enough to know what raising a child would take out of her and her ancient husband, Zechariah.  But she greeted her kinswoman with  kindness. 

Mary, on the other hand, looked very open and innocent.  Wide-eyed with her secret, both elated and frightened at the same time in a way that I think only first time pregnant women can be.  Mary had no idea what was ahead of her.  This Child quickening in her was a game breaker, a once in a universe human being. 

  Yet both women said yes to God.  There is no doubt in my mind that either one of them could have said no.  But they didn't.  And that changed the world.  Are we ready to say yes to God in this season of Advent.  I think we are continually asked, yet our fear makes us hold back.  Thank God Mary and Elizabeth overcame their fear, let us pray that we can do the same.

Day 9 - Ein Karem, floating in the Dead Sea and Host's Farewell Dinner