July 20, 2010
What to do on a hot, sultry evening in Jerusalem?
Well, if you’re staying at the Notre Dame Centre on thing, in fact just about the only thing, you can do is climb the stairs to the roof terrace and count the mosques.
Shining out like beacons in the darkness because of their green neon lights I counted 8 from my viewpoint, mostly in East Jerusalem but not all.
I wonder how they feel, the people who worship here? Do they recognise that they are one of three abrahamic faiths that claim Jerusalem as one of the cradles of their faith? Or do they choose to ignore Judaism and the many brands of Christianity that can be found in, or near, the Old City?
July 20, 2010
It’s 30 degrees outside and I’m sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of the Notre Dame Centre opposite Jerusalem’s New Gate putting the finishing touches to the programme for Kids4Hope, a summer camp organised by Jerusalem Ark. I was first involved with the programme in 1996 (during Israel’s war with Lebanon) and have stayed involved ever since, thanks to the generosity if the United Reformed Church and North Western Synod. This year the camp is smaller than usual (only 28 kids instead if the usual 40) because Jerusalem Ark has not been able to get sufficient funding and have had to leave some children disappointed. The programme is focussing on 3 areas:
1. The children as individuals
2. The churches from which they come
3. The situations and communities to which they will return.
With a mixture of Bible studies, games, discussions and activities, along with visits to the holy sites in Israel, it will be hard work for all involved but, hopefully, fun, too.
Some of the children with whom John Brown (URC Youth Development Officer) first worked now help out at the kids camp as young leaders. If proof was ever needed as to the value if this work; that is it.
Acknowledging the value of the young people, but constrained by the travel restrictions placed upon them by the Israeli authorities, Jerusalem Ark have developed a further camp, Youth4Hope, to develop young leaders from towns and villages in the West Bank. Funding for this venture, now in its 3rd year, has always been difficult and we have been extremely grateful to a charitable trust in Cheshire the last 2 years. This year, the programme is receiving financial support from a Catholic Diocese in Germany. Next year? Who knows? If your church is looking for a project to support (with even a small donation) that helps develop community leadership amongst young Christians in the Holy Land then I hope you will get in touch with me do that I can out YOU in touch with Jerusalem Ark! Your prayers are, as ever, very welcome, too.