Entries by Brigitte Parenteau

The Body of Christ is Global

For many years, Westminster has maintained partnerships with faith communities and nonprofit organizations in Cameroon, Cuba and Palestine. Our partners inspire us as they continue to witness and serve in circumstances of scarcity and conflict. In Cameroon our primary partners are the Kumba Town Presbyterian Church and AIDSCARE Link—which funds micro-loans to help persons living […]

Day Twelve: Nazareth

Our first stop was Sephorris, a vast site best known for its mosaics (the “Mona Lisa” of mosaics) and the large Roman city that was there in Jesus’ time. Scholars assume Jesus and his father labored at Sepphoris.

Day Eleven: Magdala

For our morning devotions, we walked toward the water to the Church of St. Andrew, a lovely Scottish Presbyterian chapel. The minister, Kate MacDonald, met us and joined us in prayer. She spoke about her work, which is as much with dozens of partners in Israel and Palestine working for peace and justice, as it is with pastoral leadership in the congregation.

Day Ten: Jerusalem

We walked across the vast square that spreads out between Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome on the Rock. Actually, we were also walking across where Jews believe the First and Second Temples stood. For both religious traditions, this is holy ground. For Muslims it is the third holiest of their pilgrimage sites, after Mecca and Medina.

Day Nine: Bethlehem

Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, had the first Church of the Nativity built in this place around the year 333, to commemorate what was believed to be the cave where Jesus was born. It has gone through multiple renovations and restorations in the centuries since, including when the Crusaders controlled the region, beginning in 1099.

Day Eight: Christmas Lutheran Church

On the Palestinian side, the wall has become a billboard, an art exhibition, an outlet for anger and frustration, and an opportunity for creative protest in humor. For many, the most moving part of what is displayed there are printed out, large posters offering details in the first person of the impact of the wall and the Israeli occupation.

Day Seven: Old City

We then headed to the Mount of Olives, to start a long walking trek of about three hours. First stop was a lookout viewpoint on the ridge above the Kidron Valley, looking across to the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls and many churches and mosques. From there we made our way to the Dominus Flevit (“The Lord Wept”) Church.

Day Six: Yad Vashem

It is always difficult to come face to face with humanity’s vast capacity to be inhuman to others. The Holocaust is as extreme as it gets, but it was not a spontaneous event. It was the result of centuries of Christian antipathy toward Jews. Although we may not feel directly complicit, there’s no doubt about the role of our Christian forebearers in the faith.