Perkins School of Theology in Palestine and Israel 2016

A group of students and alumni/ae from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology is participating in a global immersion trip to Palestine and Israel from Jan. 3-16, 2016. Led by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology, 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
Check back frequently for information about the group’s experiences!

Questions

An update from Rod Dennis, second-year Master of Divinity candidate: Day 13 of a wonderful journey. Thirty five people left American soil for a pilgrimage in Palestine. Many came with questions, some just for a chance to visit the Holy Land. All had experiences that we could not have anticipated. Visiting the sacred and historical sites provided different sentiments, with some being sobering, others being sacred. And maybe some wondering, why all the fuss? The one thing I found was that those sites put Scripture in a three-dimensional perspective that the text, though powerful, could not have accomplished. It was a journey that combined the sacred with the surreal, as visiting with people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [...]

To Petra

An update from Betty Conkrite: Up early this morning, getting ready to leave Bethlehem, for our Petra visit. We will travel to Jordan, change buses and meet our new guide for our Petra tour. We will visit Madaba and Mount Nebo. We will stay overnight at Petra Panorama Hotel, in Petra. Our trip is winding down. We will have one more night after tonight for our Holy Land tour. I will send you pictures from by phone of the hotels where we have stayed and where we will be staying tonight.

Jerusalem – Shalom Hartman Institute Lectures

An update from Robert Selvakumar, second-year Master of Divinity student: Today was like none other day. We visited The Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. The day's program was very cleverly crafted by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles and Dr. Marcie Lenk. From the start to the end of the program, we had a very balanced program, whereby we sat and listened to three eloquent lectures by highly reputable scholars in their fields of interest, with ample of time to pose relevant questions to the lecturers. And we also went on a study tour by foot in the afternoon, in between lecturers, around the new city of Jerusalem, with Ezra Korman playing the tour guide brilliantly. The Shalom Hartman Institute is a center [...]

Jordan River

An update from Georgia Barrett (third-year Master of Divinity candidate): Going on a trip to the Holy Land has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I have seen so many wonderful sites on this journey. However, the most meaningful site has been the Jordan River. There, I was revitalized as I felt the presence of Jesus. I also realized that God loves me, my parents and my ancestors, in that through His baptism, death and resurrection, I can be washed clean of my sins. I thank God for this experience.

Images from Mount Tabor

An update from Katherine McCarthy, Master of Divinity student: Mount Tabor – Site of the Transformation of Jesus. The place where Jesus becomes radiant in glory. Where human nature meets God It is the historical meeting place for the temporal and the eternal. Jesus is the connecting point, as the bridge between heaven and earth. From left: Leann Ashley, Betty Conkrite, Heather Gottas, Lilyana Pena, and Michele Ashley Scripture reading of Luke 9:28-36 was red by Tom Webster in the Benedictine Chapel in the room with Moses picture. Inside Benedictine Chapel Tabor Mountain

Magdala

An joint update from Heather Gottas (third-year Master of Divinity candidate) and Michelle Ashley (second-year Master of Divinity candidate): So far, our pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine has chronologically/thematically followed Jesus’ life and social context. In keeping, today our travels focused around Jesus’ ministry in Galilee including: Magdala (Mary Magdalene’s town), a first-century replica boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, an actual excavated first-century fishing boat, Capernum (where Jesus called some of his disciples and did much of his ministry), the Primacy of Peter (a chapel built literally around the rock where Jesus and Peter had the “on this rock I will build my church” conversation according to early Christian tradition), the Mount of Beatitudes (where Jesus delivered the [...]

Caesarea to Nazareth

an update from Rev. Karan Young, pastor at First United Methodist Church of Tulia, Texas: We are heading north today on our third day of exploring Palestine and Israel. As we made our way by bus, I observed a great deal of change as we left the arid climate around Jerusalem and headed to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Pine trees, cedar, fruit trees, and other lush green foliage made me forget that it is the middle of the winter. Our first stop was Caesarea Maritima, another massive building project of Herod the Great. He built a harbor and built a palace. Herod enjoyed all the trappings of wealth and power. Two pools provided swimming—one fresh water pool and [...]

Baptism

An update from David Rangel, a second-year Master of Divinity student: We gathered at the Jordan River for baptism and renewing our baptism covenant. The moment was very significant for all of us as we remembered the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. One person was baptized and 34 others renewed their baptisms. It was a very emotional time for everyone, knowing that at this very spot our own Savior had, too, been baptized.

Mt. Herodium

An update from Craig Howard, second-year Master of Divinity student: What an AMAZING experience today was. This morning we woke up in the hotel with a moving view of Bethlehem on the Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve. We had a great traditional Palestinian breakfast – including hummus, of course. The coffee tastes a little different here. Our first stop on our tour today was Mt. Herodium. This was the mountain in the heart of the Judean wilderness where Herod the Great built his summer palace and was buried. Mt. Herodium was not high enough for Herod’s liking, so he had the hill beside taken down and added to his mountain before he built his fortress. From this sight, we could see [...]

Travel to Palestine

A group of students and alumni/ae from Perkins School of Theology-SMU is participating in a global immersion trip to Palestine and Israel from Jan. 3-16, 2016. Led by Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, associate professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology, 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 Be sure to check back frequently for information about the group’s experiences!