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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Western Wall

Our group worshipped this morning in Bethlehem, at the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church. The service was conducted in both Arabic and English.

Following worship, we traveled to Jerusalem and spent time at the Western Wall. Also known as the Wailing Wall, the site is considered to be the holiest place in Judaism. The huge stones are part of the retaining wall that surrounded Herod’s Temple.

Members of our group joined the segregated sections of women and men to offer prayers, which were written onto slips of paper and inserted into cracks in the wall.

The remainder of the afternoon included free time in the Old City, followed by an evening program with UMC General Board of Global Ministries United Methodist Liaison to Palestine and Israel Rev. Kristen L. Brown; Global Mission Fellow Grace Killian; and Grace Tours manager Elias N. Ghareeb. The day ended with the Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers football game – on live TV – in the Manger Square Hotel bar.

The Western Wall Plaza, the large open area that faces the Western Wall, functions as an open-air synagogue.

The Western Wall Plaza, the large open area that faces the Western Wall, functions as an open-air synagogue.

Perkins alums Carrie DeLeon and Lynette Ross touch the Western Wall as they pray.

Perkins alums Carrie DeLeon and Lynette Ross touch the Western Wall as they pray.

Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group meets with UM mission personnel and Grace Tours manager.

Perkins Palestine-Israel immersion group meets with UM mission personnel and Grace Tours manager.

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