Palestine-Israel Immersion Trip 2015, Perkins School of Theology

The January 3-14, 2015, Palestine-Israel Immersion Trip for alumni/ae and students of Perkins School of Theology-SMU — sponsored by the school’s Global Theological Education Program — includes 17 participants. The first-ever Perkins immersion experience for alums will be led by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology. Each day, participants will experience Palestine and Israel through a different theme, including:

– The World of Jesus
– The Birth of Jesus
– Orthodox Christmas
– Jesus in Galilee, Jesus in Judea
– Contemporary Palestine
– Contemporary Israel

The itinerary includes Qumran, Masada, Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity, Megiddo, Capernaum, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and other locations. In addition to Dr. Clark-Soles, leadership will include Dr. Robert Hunt, director of the Global Theological Education Program, and the Rev. Connie Nelson, director of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations.

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At the Sea of Galilee

The Perkins School of Theology 2015 Palestine-Israel immersion group, on the Sea of Galilee.

The Perkins School of Theology 2015 Palestine-Israel immersion group, on the Sea of Galilee.

Today focused on Jesus’ life and ministry in Galilee. En route to the Sea of Galilee, participants toured the Migdal Synagogue – believed to be the oldest synagogue in Israel – located on the outskirts of Magdala (home of Mary Magdalene).

At each location, students volunteer to read the Biblical passages related to the event from the life of Jesus, and offer reflections. At the Sea of Galilee, the location of one of the best-known stories of Jesus’ ministry, the group heard Luke 8: 22-25:

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?” (NRSV)

Following lunch at a nearby kibbutz, the group toured the Church of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha. A church commemorating the Feeding of the Five Thousand was first built on this site – believed to be the location of Jesus’ feeding of 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish – in c.350.

The remainder of today included a visit to Mt. Tabor, traditional site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and Capernaum, Jesus’ home base during the most active phase of his ministry.

The faculty leaders for the Perkins 2015 Palestine-Israel immersion trip for students, alums, and friends: Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at SMU; and Dr. Robert Hunt, director of the Perkins Global Theological Education Program, professor of Christian Mission and Interreligious Relations, and Director of the Perkins Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies. Photo by Connie Nelson

The faculty leaders for the Perkins 2015 Palestine-Israel immersion trip for students, alums, and friends: Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at SMU; and Dr. Robert Hunt, director of the Perkins Global Theological Education Program, professor of Christian Mission and Interreligious Relations, and Director of the Perkins Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies. Photo by Connie Nelson

The Catholic Church in Magdala, facing the Sea of Galilee, was designed as a celebration of the women who were part of Jesus’ life and ministry. Eight pillars surround the foyer, each inscribed with a name (Susannah, Mary Magdalene, etc.). One pillar was left blank, to represent all the unnamed women. The women of our group stand in front of the unnamed pillar.

The Catholic Church in Magdala, facing the Sea of Galilee, was designed as a celebration of the women who were part of Jesus’ life and ministry. Eight pillars surround the foyer, each inscribed with a name (Susannah, Mary Magdalene, etc.). One pillar was left blank, to represent all the unnamed women. The women of our group stand in front of the unnamed pillar.

The sanctuary of the Catholic Church, dedicated to the women in Jesus’ Ministry - including Mary Magdalene, who was from the town of Magdala - located next to the Migdal Synagogue dig site. Beyond the boat-shaped altar is a view of the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Sungmoon Lee

The sanctuary of the Catholic Church, dedicated to the women in Jesus’ Ministry – including Mary Magdalene, who was from the town of Magdala – located next to the Migdal Synagogue dig site. Beyond the boat-shaped altar is a view of the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Sungmoon Lee

The menorah carving on the stone discovered at the Migdal Synagogue site. Photo by Connie Nelson

The menorah carving on the stone discovered at the Migdal Synagogue site. Photo by Connie Nelson

Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, faculty leader of the Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion, engages participants in a discussion about Jesus' ministry in Galilee. Photo by Connie Nelson

Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, faculty leader of the Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion, engages participants in a discussion about Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. Photo by Connie Nelson

The miracle of the loaves and fishes performed by Jesus is depicted in this original mosaic, located at the altar area of the church in Tabgha. Photo by Connie Nelson

The miracle of the loaves and fishes performed by Jesus is depicted in this original mosaic, located at the altar area of the church in Tabgha. Photo by Connie Nelson

Perkins M.Div. student Bill Ball (center) leads members of the group through a meditation on the Transfiguration of Jesus outside the Basilica of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Photo by Connie Nelson.

Perkins M.Div. student Bill Ball (center) leads members of the group through a meditation on the Transfiguration of Jesus outside the Basilica of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Photo by Connie Nelson.

8.Vibrantly colored art illustrates the transfiguration of Jesus, which Gospel writers say “his face became as dazzling as the sun; his clothes as radiant as light” and he spoke with the prophets Moses and Elijah. Photo by Connie Nelson.

Vibrant art illustrates the transfiguration of Jesus. According to Gospel writers, “his face became as dazzling as the sun; his clothes as radiant as light” and he spoke with the prophets Moses and Elijah. Photo by Connie Nelson.

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