WCC Pilgrimage Blog

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Preaching in Toronto about the Pope’s visit to Geneva

When I was asked to preach recently, it seemed obvious that I would speak about the visit of Pope Francis to Geneva in June at the invitation of the World Council of Churches. This would give me the opportunity to talk about ecumenism with people who might not be familiar with either the word or the concept. It would also be the chance to draw attention to the 70-year quest by the WCC for practical ecumenism, that is to say an ecumenism that is about Christians working together to love their neighbour and care for creation.

Wadi Qana and the politics of nature

Although the Israeli authorities declared Wadi Qana as a nature reserve as far back as 1983, the decision to turn it into an Israeli leisure and recreation area was only taken in 2006. This did not fail to impact Palestinian landowners. who are not allowed to dig new wells to water the fields or to repair existing facilities, whereas the Israeli settlements on the hilltops get their water from deep wells on the valley floor, with water pumped uphill through thick pipes.

Wadi Qana: Occupation's impact on a peaceful land

Although idyllic Wadi Qana is barely 50 km from the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv as the crow flies, the gap is great. Rizeq, our local contact in the nearby village of Deir Istiya, leases grazing land there. Together with three friends, he owns a small herd of goats. The herd sleeps in a large cave that serves as a shed, with an entrance enclosed by walls and gates. Rizeq and his partners built a small hut nearby out of field stones for storing tools and spending the night.