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Walking to Emmaus Walking to Emmaus
After a long walk in the streets of Bethlehem, we finally had the chance to wander around in the market for a couple of hours. Each Palestinian had to be a leader for some of the youth that were in the group, so a South African, two Germans, and a Swede formed my group. While hanging around on the roads, we passed by some tourist buses. One of the youths who were with me said: “Wow, there are a lot of tourists in Bethlehem. I’m glad I’m not a tourist but a pilgrim!”
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On World Refugee Day, closed doors or a welcome for the stranger? On World Refugee Day, closed doors or a welcome for the stranger?
One generally thinks of a pilgrimage as a journey undertaken voluntarily, in an attitude of reflection, peace and serenity, and with its objective or purpose being internal and spiritual. But on World Refugee Day (20 June), we may consider that the unprecedented numbers of refugees around the world are also embarked on their own pilgrimage of justice and peace. Though forcibly and unwillingly displaced by war, violence, oppression and deprivation, refugees are journeying away from insecurity towards safety, recognition of their plight, and ultimately the restoration of peace and the realization of justice.
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Walking to Emmaus Walking to Emmaus
At our first meeting in South Africa, a few months before going to Sweden for the first part of the international youth pilgrimage “Walking to Emmaus”, we were exited to meet each other and to know that we would all be going on a plane. It was a first for all of us so I’m sure you would imagine the excitement you could see on our faces going down the terminal and into the aeroplane.
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Becoming pilgrims: walking alongside our brothers and sisters in Egypt Becoming pilgrims: walking alongside our brothers and sisters in Egypt
Egypt, that ancient and mysterious land where the pyramids of Giza grace the hot desert landscape and the Pharaohs once reigned. A land overflowing with beauty and a historical richness unparalleled in all the globe. Today, it is a place whose regal image has been tarnished by the devastating consequences of revolution, economic decline, and fanatical religious zeal.
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Armenian Genocide Centennial in Beirut – an ecumenical commemoration Armenian Genocide Centennial in Beirut – an ecumenical commemoration
Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, invited church leaders to commemorate the Armenian Genocide Centenial in Beirut, Lebanon, 18-19 July. And many of us came to show solidarity and to pray together.
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Bethlehem shepherds, water shortage and trees of hope Bethlehem shepherds, water shortage and trees of hope
This Christmas Season I will have concrete places in my mind when I listen to the story of the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. I will think of the Bedouin community in Suyica, near Yatta, a Palestinian city in the West Bank. They live in tents and in caves because they are not allowed to build houses. Together with about 20 Methodists from around the globe representing the World Methodist Council, we visited them in October.
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For birth or death: the destiny of Bethlehem For birth or death: the destiny of Bethlehem
I sometimes ask people if they know which is the first point in the Bible that Bethlehem gets a mention. And that normally offers them quite a challenge. People certainly move back from the New Testament into the Old – and come up with responses like, ‘the story of David’, or ‘the Book of Ruth’. Good thinking. But actually the first mention of Bethlehem in our Bibles (as they are now set out) occurs much earlier still.
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My heart is crying – but Pope Tawadros said, “love never ends” My heart is crying – but Pope Tawadros said, “love never ends”
Time for reflection after my visit to Egypt. The story has etched itself into my memory. I can’t leave it behind. It comes to me every day like a constant reminder of the fragility of life, of our mortality, of the courage and faith of our fellow humans that carries us in our darkest and most despondent hours.
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Reflections of Ecumenical Accompaniers: being present, bearing witness Reflections of Ecumenical Accompaniers: being present, bearing witness
Ecumenical Accompaniers walk children to school, accompany shepherds, serve as a presence of peace, and share what they see. They are the fruit of the WCC-EAPPI, and offer reflections from a variety of settings and the life around them.
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Impressions from Iraq Impressions from Iraq
Returning from another visit to Iraq alongside Carla Khijoyan, the World Council of Churches' Middle East programme executive, and Fr Emanuel Youkhana of the Christian Aid Programme Northern Iraq (CAPNI), many images fill my mind: images of destruction, and of life hesitantly picking up again. Many uncertainties remain, prompting us to bend our heads and raise our prayers to the Lord.
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