THE BISHOP’S COLUMN | PROFILES | EVENTS
VOLUME 6 NUMBER 1
The Texas Episcopalian
THE HOLY LAND page 08
BODY ART A PILGRIM’S TALE page 26
Diolog: The Texas Episcopalian (since 1874) is an official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
Our mission is to bring you the wealth of stories from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, to inform and inspire you and to deepen your spiritual life. PUBLISHER:
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
EDITOR: Carol E. Barnwell, firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGNER:
LaShane K. Eaglin, email@example.com
Diolog: The Texas Episcopalian (PE# USPS 10965, ISSN# 1074-441X) is published quarterly (March, June, September and December) for $25 a year by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, 1225 Texas St., Houston, TX 77002-3504. Periodical postage paid at Houston, TX. Address changes may be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org POSTMASTER: Address changes: Diolog: The Texas
Episcopalian, 1225 Texas St., Houston, TX 77002-3504 Â© 2016 The Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Member of: Episcopal Communicators and Associated Church Press
The Episcopal Diocese of Texas
In This Issue: 04 EDITOR’S LETTER Carol E. Barnwell
08 LIFE AS PILGRIMAGE While some are fortunate to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the practice of pilgrimage can become a rule of life for everyone.
Fotofest at the EDOT Gallery, 05
THE HOLY LAND 06 Bishop’s Column 08 A Lifelong Pilgrimage 10 Ancient Sites Shed New Light on Jesus’ Life 12 The Nature of Christ 14 Looking Back at Israel 16 Two Sabbaths of Living Judaism 18 Mezze Reflects Rich Diversity in Holy Land 20 What Faith Can Envision 22 Peace Begins at School PROFILES
Luminary, Iyad Qumri page 24 The Arts, The Razzouk Family page 26
Advocate, The Princess Basma Centre page 28 Congregation, The Diocese of Jerusalem page 30
34 CALENDAR & PEOPLE
Tattoos have marked religious pilgrims for centuries. There
is one family in the Old City of Jerusalem that carries on the tradition handed down from Egyptian Coptics. Cover and Inside Cover Photo: Carol E. Barnwell, a mosaic in Sepphoris.
| 3 | MARCH 2016
The Holy Land is sacred to half of humanity. My own pilgrimage last September renewed my curiosity for Scripture and the people of this place, its conflicts, its holy sites. Jerusalem is a city of the Pentecost, we are told, where each faith—Jew, Christian and Muslim—received the message of God in their own language, an epicenter of faith. My trip gave me a decidedly Palestinian Christian’s point of view, and I learned about some of the hardships that exist for this tiny minority of the population. As Palestinians, Christians (and Muslims) living in the West Bank are not allowed to fly out of or into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, but must travel to and from Amman, Jordan, then make their way by car to Israel and Palestine. If you are Palestinian and were not born in Jerusalem, you may not live in Jerusalem. Students who hold Palestinian IDs are prevented from entering Jerusalem once they reach the age of 16. If you have Palestinian license plates, you may not drive on the highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but must stay on the service road, which sometimes meanders alongside and contains many road blocks. If you are Palestinian living in Gaza or the West Bank, the water available to Israelis 24/7 is not always available to you. So you must fill rooftop water tanks when you are able in order to tide you over. For this privilege, you are charged the same amount as your Israeli neighbors. I do not presume to understand the long and complicated nature of Israeli and Palestinian relations, but it is very clear that Christians have paid the price along with the Muslim population of the Holy Land. Their population has slipped to below 2 per cent today, from almost 20 per cent in 1940. The West Bank cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem have seen a more dramatic decline in Christian populations from their respective majorities of 90 and 80 percent prior to 1948.
Christians, along with their Muslim neighbors, are often caught behind a soaring concrete wall topped with barbed wire and covered in graffiti. They are unable to easily reach their farmland, or travel freely for medical or personal reasons, even while it is the Christians who serve some of the most vulnerable children and families in the country without discrimination. But conflict aside, nothing could have prepared me for Eucharist at sunrise above the desert, looking into the valley where Jesus walked from Jericho to Jerusalem. Dust and dark obscured the sharp edges of the hills, goat bells jangled in the distance and a Bedouin lit a cigarette somewhere behind our group, waiting to sell his wares. The hillside and valley appear timeless: was, is now, and ever shall be. As the haze cleared and the sun rose, gray hills stretched in every direction, tufts of green marking the rare potential of water. I reveled in the twists and turns of the Old City in Jerusalem, envisioned similar traders and shoppers a thousand years ago, but today in contemporary clothing, bartering in the same stalls, mending shoes in the same alleys. I wept at the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa as we pilgrims made our way through the empty streets in the early morning. I witnessed the depth of devotion of people praying at Christ’s Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, its stone steps worn down by pilgrims for two thousand years and now by me. I have become part of the story in a way I was not before. I have more questions for which to seek answers and deeper meaning. I hope that the stories in this issue of the Diolog will share some piece of the Holy Land you did not know before, that they will give you a new perspective for a small part of your own pilgrimage. And if you get a chance to go to the Holy Land, take it with an open mind and an open heart. Blessings,
Carol E. Barnwell
SUBSCRIBE TO EDOT E-NEWS 4 |
get weekly diocesan and parish news @ tinyurl.com/edotnews
PRESIDING BISHOP MICHAEL CURRY’S MESSAGE FOR LENT 2016 “The season of Lent is upon us,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry says in his Message for Lent 2016. “It is a season of making a renewed commitment to participate and be a part of the movement of Jesus in this world.” Watch the message at tinyurl.com/pblent.
DISCOVERY RETREAT EXPLORES DISCERNMENT PROCESS
EDOT Gallery FOTOFEST
EDOT Gallery will once again be an official gallery during Houston’s international FotoFest, highlighting photographers from around the world. The exhibit, entitled “The More Things Change …” will feature works by Carol E. Barnwell, Susan Cooley, Nancy Etheridge and Jean May. The show opens March 12 and will continue through April. A reception will be held from 4-6 p.m., April 3. FotoFest Biennials draw more than 250,000 visitors during the course of the six-week run, attracting visitors and participants from more than 35 countries. More than 100 independent museums, art galleries, nonprofit art centers and corporate spaces will participate in FotoFest, one of the world’s longest-running, largest and most respected international photographic art events. EDOT Gallery is a venue designed to showcase Episcopal artists, sponsored by the Diocese of Texas. Find out more at epicenter.org/edotgallery.
Nearly 30 people participated in the Diocese of Texas’ first Discovery Retreat January 15-17 at Camp Allen. The retreat, one of several to be held in 2016, marks a change in the ordination process and broadens the availability for guided discernment. Read more at tinyurl.com/discoveryretreat.
FERGUSON PILGRIMS STUDY RACISM AND RECONCILIATION In the months following General Convention, the Episcopal Church has been working to fulfill its mandate to confront racism and the institutional structures that support it. Read more at tinyurl.com/fergusonpilgrims.
SEAFARERS’ MINISTRY GOES DIGITAL The Anglican mission agency Mission to Seafarers has teamed up with the North American Maritime Ministry Association to launch a new international digital center for Seafarers’ Ministry. Read more at tinyurl.com/ seaferers.
FINDING OUR PLACE
by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
We are a people of place. The Episcopal Church, with its legacy of Anglican and Catholic tradition, is a faith of context, deeply rooted to place. We believe that Christ is revealed in the lives and the people in any given community. And where we find God’s people are “thin” places where the presence of a transcendent God may be felt within. We believe that this is the work of the Church in a very real way—we are to be about the work of “being” in the world— in these spaces that God inhabits. We are to be with people in their lives: birth and death, struggle and victory, imprisonment and release, and bondage and freedom. Furthermore, we believe that we are to be about the work of naming and calling out signs of the holy—we are to make visible in the world that which is seemingly invisible but experienced. This contextual nature of our Episcopal identity did not somehow manifest itself in our rich DNA by happenstance. Our missiology, if you will, is rooted in the very nature of our being a faith nurtured in the colonies, nurtured in Canterbury before that, Rome before that, and birthed in Jerusalem before that. Our understanding that our faith
is deeply rooted in place is born out of a relationship between God and God’s people. Our deep and spiritual roots find particular animation in the sacredness of the Holy Land. Here a particular people found their very nature tied to the creator God who made them, set them free and delivered them onto a mountaintop. Here is a land where many of the world’s religions find their rootedness in the holiness of a relatively few square miles. The very grains of sand seem precious to faithful people who find and make their home where God seemingly dwells as he has done from before time. A true image of the overlapping layers of prayerful hymns sung by faithful indigenous people, immigrants and pilgrims alike is evident in every footstep. When I was last in the Holy Land, I felt this most deeply on the Holy Mount where Christians are invited into the holy of holies for Muslims and Jews on the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock. I found myself in awe of the beauty of the people all around, the tension and fear of division and cultural strife, and the incredible hospitality of one faithful Muslim to one faithful Christian. We had finished the tour of the Mount where
SSJE 2016 LENTEN VIDEOS AND WORKBOOK This year’s Lenten series will focus on God as the Chief Gardener of our souls and use a tool from monastic spirituality called a “Rule of Life” to explore and cultivate our relationships with God, Self, Others, and Creation. Visit ssje.org/ssje/growrule for more.
Mohammed ascended into heaven and where Elijah, Abraham, David and Solomon prayed, when the tour guide pulled me into his little cottage and served me tea. We talked about family and faith and the love of this place. Walking in this holy land, with its complexity of divisions and love, devotion and faith, reminds me we are people of a land, too. While we trace our pilgrim footsteps back, we also find them firmly planted where we live, in this sacred and holy land. Here, in this place, we are invited to go out and find our brothers and sisters, to sit with them and have tea, to share with them our life, our loves, our blood, our victories, our failures, and most of all God’s grace. What follows in this issue of Diolog is a series of articles on different aspects of the Holy Land, its wonders and challenges. I long to return to the Holy Land. I wanted to go back as soon as I left because it helps me to see more clearly the mission, service, evangelism and reconciliation that is our work in our own communities today. I hope you will consider your “place” in God’s Kingdom in light of the Holy Land—Jesus’ “place,” and find the thin places where God is calling you.
BISHOP DOYLE’S LENTEN MESSAGE Watch a video of Bishop Doyle’s Lenten msssage at www.epicenter.org.
| 7 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
See Life as a Pilgrimage by the Rev. Canon John Newton, IV In June of 2014, I took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The moment I stepped off the plane, I felt an immediate sense that I was truly on holy ground. Jerusalem felt, as a Celtic Christian might say, like a “thin place.” The border between heaven and earth often felt blurred on my pilgrimage: as I knelt in silent prayer on Golgotha rock in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or as I walked the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa—the historic path that Jesus of Nazareth walked on the way to his crucifixion. I recall one meditative walk in particular along the Sea of Galilee that left me awestruck. I intuitively knew that I stood where Jesus, the humble carpenter’s son, began his public ministry. I was walking in the footsteps of Jesus, on holy ground. About a week after my pilgrimage ended, I was eager to return, as many who have had a similar experience will attest. Re-entry from a pilgrimage can feel like an unwelcome plummet from the holy to the common, and, for reasons too complex to articulate here, our mind has a strong bias against finding God in what we deem to be common. As the thrill of a New Year dies down, and as darkness, cold and routine settle, we find ourselves, yet again, being invited by the Church to the observance of a holy Lent. Lent asks us to ponder how to live every moment in the footsteps of Jesus. As I reflect on how God is inviting me to enter into Lent, I return again and again in my heart and mind to my deep soul-need for pilgrimage, not so much as something I need to take but rather as a way of life that God invites me to live. We recall that in biblical times faithful Jews were expected to take an annual pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The meaning of Lent, however, is ultimately found in how it subversively negates this expectation. We need not go somewhere special to encounter God, for Lent reminds us that in Christ, God has taken a pilgrimage from heaven to 8 |
earth to dwell with us. In other words, Jesus Christ is the Perpetual Pilgrim simply because through the power of God’s Holy Spirit the footsteps of Jesus are everywhere. Theologians refer to this particular divine perfection as God’s omnipresence. God’s Presence, though radically distinct from creation, nevertheless still infuses our creation right down to the tiniest atom. “Where can I flee from your presence?” the psalmist asks. “If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I make the grave my bed, you are there also” (Psalm 139: 6-7). The point being made, of course, is that we cannot flee from God’s presence for God simply is Omnipresence—not centralized in Jerusalem or a Temple or a shrine made with human hands or any other special locale that we, mere mortals, set apart and call holy. God is in every “where.” I still believe in the great value of taking a pilgrimage, to allot time to meditate, learn and pray in a special land we set apart as holy. But such an experience is only valuable to the extent that it awakens us to the great Gospel truth that all places are thin and that the border between heaven and earth is not as strongly demarcated as we may like. I have decided what I shall give up for Lent: holiness. This Lent I am a pilgrim, and I will seek the Holy One in what I am far too quick to label “common.” I will seek God in bread and wine, in the homeless beggar and in dirty dishes, in the difficult conversation I have been putting off and in the laughter of my wife and daughter. I will seek God in every “where.” This Lent I will choose to see my life as a pilgrimage. I will know by faith that Jesus’ footsteps are everywhere and that the omnipresent God walks among us disguised. I will see all roads as the Via Dolorosa, and I will pray that the holy and the common, whether in Jerusalem or Texas, shall be to my heart one in the same. Newton is the Chief of Staff for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
Photo: Carol E. Barnwell
Wadi Qelt runs west to east across the Judean Desert in the West Bank from Jerusalem to Jericho.
| 9 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
ANCIENT SITES SHED NEW LIGHT ON JESUS’ LIFE by the Rev. Canon John L. Peterson “The Ornament of Galilee,” as the historian Josephus called the Galilean Roman city of Sepphoris, today offers new meaning some 20 centuries after its construction. Sepphoris, located four miles from Nazareth, was the capital and largest city in first century Galilee, but it is never mentioned in the New Testament. Despite this, Sepphoris has now become one of the most important ancient ruins in exploring the life of Jesus of Nazareth. It has indeed become an “Ornament” as questions are raised about “the missing years” in Jesus’ life.
American and Israeli team, little was known about the socio-economics of the city, but with excavations in the 1980s – 1990s, we know more about the social and political impact of Sepphoris in the Galilee in the early part of the first century. Two things came out of the excavations: Sepphoris was a wealthy and urban city and, because of the proximity of Nazareth to Sepphois, Jesus “did not grow up place-bound, in a rustic, unsophisticated environment” (SBL Forum Archive, Archaeology and the Historical Jesus: Recent Developments, 2004).
In the Gospels, there are two references (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) to Jesus being “the carpenter’s son” and in Luke 4:22, a reference is made to Joseph’s son. The Greek word for carpenter is tekton. This word tekton, translated as carpenter, gives the sense of one who hammers nails into wood, and leads to the assumption that Jesus came from an economically poor family.
Because of these excavations we have a far better understanding today of the social, commercial, political and religious life in the Galilee—the context in which Jesus of Nazareth lived. Earlier generations simply did not know what we know today, and, hence, words like tekton are now seen and understood in radically different ways. A tekton would not have been a poor man; indeed, we can look at a first century home in Nazareth (over which the Church of the Nutrition was built by the Byzantines) to remember Joseph’s home. Lying beneath that church is an excavated first century rolling stone tomb, which means this was not the home of a poor man. By knowing the economic context in which Jesus lived (and Joseph most likely worked as a tekton in Sepphoris) gives a radically new perspective to the biblical narrative today.
However, in the first century, the word tekton referred to a “master craftsman” or “master artisan.” It would have been “tektons” who oversaw major building projects at the Roman capital of Sepphoris. For example, the great amphitheater of Sepphoris that seated some 4,000 people would have been built by tektons; the great water system of Sepphoris would have been built by tektons. Hence, I would argue that Joseph, a tekton, would have been a part of, at least, the middle class if not the upper middle class of the time. Why is Sepphoris so important in our understanding of Jesus? Prior to the excavations at Sepphoris by an 10 |
THE UPPER ROOM But we are not isolated to the Galilee when defining Sepphoris’ importance. At Sepphoris, archaeologists uncovered a third century triclinium, or the formal dining room of a Roman house. The triclinium was first used
in Pompeii seven centuries before Jesus’ birth. Its use has a long history amongst the upper classes in both Greek and Roman domestic life. Many scholars have associated the triclinium with the Last Supper in Jerusalem. The Upper Room is described in both Mark 14:14-15 and Luke 22:12 as a “large upper room.” Being a large room it is understood to have belonged to a wealthy person who let Jesus use the room for his “Last Supper.” It would not have been possible for a poor carpenter’s son to have had such access. This suggests that because of Joseph’s status as a tekton, Jesus Photo: Carol E. Barnwell
would have had the opportunity to use this large room in the Upper City of Jerusalem.
honored guests at the Last Supper were “reclining” next to Jesus, actually one on each side of him.
Two references in the Gospels indicate the “Upper Room” of the New Testement was a triclinium. In John 13:23, the disciple whom Jesus loved was reclining on Jesus’ breast. People in triclinia reclined. They did not sit on chairs. And in Matthew 26:23: “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.” This means that Judas was also, like the beloved disciple, reclining next to Jesus at the Last Supper. An interesting question this raises is that the two
Three or four decades ago in the United States, there was a huge debate about “archaeology proving the Bible true.” What Sepphoris offers us today is the social and economic context to better understand the secrets that the Bible holds for us to understand who this Jesus was. Peterson is Canon for Global Justice and Reconciliation at the Washington National Cathedral.
| 11 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
THE NATURE OF CHRIST
by the Rev. Sam Todd He was of obscure birth and parentage. He was reared in Galilee, a remote area of the Roman Empire that even Israelites considered provincial—“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). When grown, this carpenter’s son had revealed to him his true identity at his baptism in the Jordan River—“You are my Son, the Beloved” (Mark 1:11). Though devout Jews called God “Lord,” Jesus called him “Father,” and taught others to do so as well. “When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come…’”(Luke 11:2). His parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11ff) spelled out the extent of the Father’s love even for his wayward children. The parable is one of several that Jesus told in response to the scribes’ and Pharisees’ grumbling that “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). Jesus became an itinerant preacher. He went from town to town—Cana, Capernaum, Bethsaida—around the Sea of Galilee, “proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:14f). Zealous Jews assumed that the re-establishment of God’s kingdom would entail their liberation from Roman occupation but Jesus is silent about that. Rather, the divine power exercised by him liberates people from sin, Satan and death. When asked by disciples of John the Baptist whether or not he was “the one who is to come,” Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them” (Luke 7:22). Most of Jesus’ teaching as recounted by Matthew, Mark and Luke is about the kingdom of God—what it is like, how it grows, who gets in, who is excluded. John articulates the gospel in terms of eternal life but that phrase occurs in other gospels as well. Luke tells us that a lawyer once asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) Jesus replied, “What does the law say?” The lawyer answered that one should love God with all one’s heart, soul, strength and mind and love one’s neighbor as one’s self. Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. Do this and you will live.” In answer to the lawyer’s further question of who his neighbor is, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan who showed mercy to him who fell among thieves (10:29-37). From his parable of The Great Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) we learn that God will count compassionate love of “the least of these my brethren” as love of God.
glory of God manifested through the ministry of Jesus. This manifestation culminates with Peter, James and John, the inner core of the disciples, going up on Mt. Tabor with Jesus who “was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzlingly white” (Matthew 17:2). Suddenly there appeared with him Moses and Elijah representing the Law and the Prophets. During the Season of Lent the gospels take an ominous turn. Jesus encounters increasing opposition from the religious authorities. He leads his disciples south from Galilee into the province of Judea to the capital city, Jerusalem, where he wishes to celebrate the Passover, the great annual commemoration of the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. Lenten readings culminate on Palm Sunday, a whipsaw experience if ever there was one. It begins with us joining the crowd singing, “Thou art the King of Israel, thou David’s royal son” (Hymn 154:1). It ends with Jesus on a cross under the titulus “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37). Rome’s implicit message was, “This is how the senate and people of Rome deal with national liberation movements.” But why did the religious authorities condemn Jesus? His miracles were disturbing, lying outside the Pharisees’ religious pharmacopeia. His teaching, too, challenged the conventional view that the righteous should shun the sinful. But what sealed Jesus’ doom was his presuming to forgive sins, including those of a man who did not even know he was paralyzed by sin, and before the man had even asked for forgiveness. “Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (Mark 2:7). Who indeed? Blasphemy was a capital crime; it was what Jesus was condemned for. On the last day of his mortal life, Jesus was deserted by his friends, scourged by soldiers, mocked by a crowd, crucified between two thieves and his body laid in a borrowed tomb. He never wrote a book; he never held an office. He never commanded an army; he never founded a business. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place of his birth. Twenty centuries have come and gone. Mighty armies have marched; mighty rulers have ruled. Empires have risen and fallen. Yet no one has affected human life on earth so much as he. Why? His death must not have been the last word. Todd is Academic Dean of the Iona School for Ministry.
During the Season after Epiphany, the gospels show the A 2,000 year old olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Photo: Carol E. Barnwell
| 13 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
Looking Back at Israel by Steven Bishop, PhD
The history of Israel is complex. Ask anyone who has tried to read through the Old Testament and they will tell you that there are so many names, places, events and nations that it is hard to keep track of them all. Not to mention all the unfamiliar histories of surrounding nations that intertwined with the story of Israel. Although it is complex, we can get a better understanding of that history if we approach it from a certain perspective. It may seem counterintuitive but let’s approach the history from the end of the biblical narrative and tell it backwards. The rationale for this approach is that it was in this late period that Israel saw its greatest activity in writing and theological reflection. It was also in this late period that the Old Testament, as we know it, began to take its present form. The driving force behind this explosion of creativity was the Babylonian captivity. At this point in time, only Judah remained of the twelve tribes. Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed and the city of Jerusalem had been reduced to rubble by the Babylonians. Babylon had taken into exile the leaders of Judah and conscripted them into service for the empire. In this situation of crisis the Judeans collected their histories and reflected on how God’s promises could have failed so miserably. They also asked what steps, if any, could be taken to restore God’s promises. The Babylonian captivity was one of the many times in Israel’s history that God’s promises seemed to be on shaky ground. However, it was the most extreme of those experiences. God had promised Abraham, and later all the patriarchs and matriarchs, that the land of Canaan would be
their possession and that their offspring would fill the land. God had also promised King David that his dynasty would last forever and that Jerusalem would endure as God’s dwelling place. Now, however, all those promises seemed like a dream. Displaced from their homeland with no king of their own, no Temple to worship in, and no city to house God’s presence, they set to work re-examining their relationship to God: a relationship expressed in the form of covenant. As they wrote their history, every moment was scrutinized in light of God’s faithfulness to the promises (covenant) and the part they played in keeping those promises alive. As they saw it, from the outset the promises were subject to situations that threatened their fulfillment. The promise of land and progeny was threatened in every instance of the early years by the barrenness of the matriarchs. How could the promises of land and offspring be fulfilled when the matriarchs were barren? God answered in every instance with the blessing of children, even when some patriarchs tried to take matters into their own hands. Later, when Israel was divided into Northern Israel and Southern Judah, God’s promise to preserve David’s dynasty seemed to be put on notice. And when these nations warred with one another, the promise of land was compromised through strife. At Mount Sinai the Israelites were instructed to worship God alone, but the history of life in Canaan was one continuous saga of worshipping Baal and Asherah, Canaanite gods. So God used foreign empires to bring judgment in hope that the people would turn completely
Photo: Carol E. Barnwell 14 |
Part of the Old City in Jerusalem above the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
to the God of Israel and trust in Him completely. Persia superseded Babylonia as the dominant empire and granted freedom to the Judeans to return home. Persia now controlled the vast lands and had a new plan to control local populations, like Judah. In this climate the scribes, priests and theologians began the constructive work of writing a theological history
that would answer their questions and provide hope and direction for the future. The expectant hope, however, was tempered by the harsh reality expressed in the penitential prayer of Ezra in Jerusalem: “Here we are, slaves to this day—slaves in the land that you gave to our ancestors to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts” (Nehemiah 9:36 ). The exiles of Judah returned home as slaves to work out their new reality and a new relationship with God.
Read about the Ottoman occupation of Israel online at epicenter.org/comm.
The history of Israel is one best told backward. No single theological view was dominant in writing Israel’s story. Multiple voices offered theological explanations for this crisis; those voices are still preserved in the biblical text, which makes for a rich and complex history of Israel. Bishop is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Seminary of the Southwest, Austin.
| 15 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
Two Sabbaths of Living Judaism
by Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski I spent the summers of 2014 and 2015 in Israel, studying contemporary Judaism with other leaders from churches in the United States. Over the course of that time, I had the joy of encountering diverse and vibrant forms of Jewish worship, unlike any that I had witnessed from my various visits to synagogues in the United States. I offer here some memories from that time. It is early evening in July and Shabbat is about to begin. Shabbat (what we know as Sabbath) is sacred time for Jews. It is when they stop and rest from their labors, remembering God’s own rest from the work of creation. It is a time for family and community, relaxation and renewal. I am walking with my group in the neighborhood of Emek
Refaim in Jerusalem. We duck into a community center that on Shabbat becomes the gathering place of the congregation of Shira Hadasha (which means “A New Song”). We are here because Shira Hadasha pushes the envelope of Jewish worship in Israel. Orthodox Judaism is legally enshrined as the dominant form of religious identity for Israeli Jews. One principle in Orthodox worship is gender separation, including a dividing curtain between men and women and the absence of female leadership in worship. Shira Hadasha was founded as an expression of “open Orthodoxy” in 2002. While the curtain remains, the service is fully gender inclusive. On this night, I am swept up in vibrant prayer. Song pours out vigorous four-part
congregational singing. Beneath these unaccompanied voices is a driving rhythm, leading my own prayers to a deeper connection with the presence of God I feel in that place. The next morning, one of our leaders, an American rabbi, takes us on a walk around Jerusalem to visit various synagogues. An hour late, we stumble upon a tiny Moroccan synagogue in the Orthodox neighborhood of Nachlaot. The exterior does not look like a typical synagogue. It is an unassuming building but with a beautiful tile mosaic over the entry. Inside in dim light is a small gathering of about twenty men. They are Jews and their children who were forced to leave Morocco after the establishment of the State of Israel as part of a widespread expulsion of Jews that occurred in the Arab world. Where Shira Hadasha was vibrant, there is another kind of holiness here. There is a stillness born of prayer, a meditative depth and a sense of the presence of generations that had gone before. Those gathered represent a remnant from another place, small but thriving, testifying to the breadth and diversity of living Jewish traditions. It is a different Friday and a different city. I am now with my group in Tel Aviv and getting ready to celebrate Shabbat with the inclusive congregation of Beit Tefilah. But we are not gathered in a synagogue. Instead, we are seated on the boardwalk, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and watching the sun go down. Beit Tefilah reminds me of the Emerging Church movement in the United States. Beit Tefilah has as its mission to connect the Jewish tradition with Israeli Jews who might feel disconnected. Although many Americans might assume that Israeli Jews are all observant and Orthodox, most identify as secular. This means they do not consistently observe all forms of Jewish life nor are they well-versed in the Jewish tradition. Beit Tefilah seeks out those who might not come to Shabbat services by bringing it to them. All of the core elements are present, but the format is looser. The music alternates between high energy and meditative. There is even a time in the middle of the service when people can share their prayer requests. This would be out of the ordinary in a typical synagogue service, but it was recognizable to me from the church practice of the sharing of joys and concerns. Beit Tefilah is building community by the side of the sea in the summer sun. And God is clearly at work there. Returning from Israel, I now look at our own range of practices with a new appreciation, treasuring the many vibrant ways in which churches also glorify God. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski is Associate Professor of Church History at Seminary of the Southwest, Austin. Diolog
| 17 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
Mezze Reflects Rich Diversity in Holy Land by Carol E. Barnwell
Nearly every meal during my pilgrimage to the Holy Land began with a generous “mezze” of olives, tomato and cucumber salad, cheese, salty pickles, hummus, tabbouleh and pita bread. More elaborate offerings included fuul (stewed fava beans), baba ghanouj, oval nuggets of fried ground lamb, tiny stuffed eggplants and the most delicious yogurt I’ve ever tasted. Each meal reflected the seemingly infinite cultural variety of the Holy Land, which nurtures the roots of three Abrahamic religions. Within each population is yet another layer of ethnicities that helps to create a bountiful feast of flavors here. Israeli Jews come from nearly as many ethnicities as Americans themselves and—coupled with the Armenians, Bedouins, Druze and Arabs (both Muslim and Christian)—have added to the richness of cuisine. Ashkenazi Jews descended from medieval Jewish communities in the Rhineland Valley. Sephardic Jews originated on the Iberian Peninsula and others came from Ethiopia and India. Each brought the tastes and influence of their native countries.
Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, reflecting the highly diverse culture of the Holy Land, marked first and foremost by gracious hospitality. Arabs make up 20 percent of the population in Israel/ Palestine, totaling more than one million people. A majority consider themselves Muslim and are overwhelmingly Sunni, because Sunni Ottoman Turks ruled the area for 200 years. Muslims make up 99 percent of the population on the West Bank and 75 percent of the population in Gaza, but only 16 percent of Israel’s population outside those areas. It was in a restaurant in the West Bank that I finally found the recipe for the tomato and pepper dip that I had seen served in several variations. I asked the owner, with a bit of pantomime, to gather the ingredients together for her matbucha for a photo because neither my lack of Arabic nor her lack of English could help us share the recipe. Matbucha (pronounced mat–boo–ka) is the Middle Eastern answer to salsa. It means “cooked salad” and is made by roasting peppers and stewing them with tomatoes and garlic. Originally from northern Africa, matbucha is always included as part of the mezze.
The broader theme of Arabic cuisine is rooted in tent cookery and nomadic tribes that used recipes as rough outlines rather than strict formulae. Caravans journeyed throughout the Middle East, adding new seasonings and vegetables to existing repertoire, depending on a particular tribe’s palate. This would account for many variations of the same dish throughout the region.
Once my fellow pilgrims had picked the plates clean from this feast of appetizers, there appeared large platters of shaved, grilled meat or delicately flavored chicken kabobs. And just when you thought you were finished, the “traditional Palestinian” meal would begin. It was positively excessive! And positively delicious.
Most of Israel’s 170,000 Bedouins have left their nomadic lifestyle but continue to hold a strong cultural identity. Their tribes originated in the Arabian Peninsula and were joined in their migration to Israel by Egyptian farmers and tribes-people from Sudan. This nomadic Bedouin influence was broadened further by cuisines from
The best yogurt ever was at a Druze restaurant just five miles from the Syrian border, served by a majestically mustachioed proprietor with a huge grin and a white turban. He would not allow his photo to be taken. Druze, nearly 120,000 people (most in Galilee and the Golan Heights), combine the tenets of Islam with Greek and
Matbucha Recipe Roast for 30 minutes at 350º 10 Roma tomatoes and 4 red bell peppers, hot peppers to taste (1 jalepeno usually does it for me) drizzled with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Process to a paste and add 8 cloves of chopped garlic and ½ c olive oil. You can flavor with cayenne to taste. Some of the variations were more chunky than others, some included chopped onions. I put it on the pita with shaved lamb and yogurt sauce. It would be good as a spread for a cold roast beef sandwich, too.
Hindu philosophy. They have not accepted converts since 1050 and observe no official liturgies or holy days. They believe in one God, truthfulness, protection of others and that every hour of every day is a time to reckon oneself before God. And did I mention they make the best yogurt ever? Salted, then dried in a fine cotton cloth, it was served, thick and creamy with olive oil poured over it and a sprinkling of za’tar: dried thyme, ground and mixed with salt, sumac and roasted sesame seed. Mixed with olive oil, za’tar can be spread on large pita called manooshi, or added to eggs or meats, and, of course, mixed into the best yogurt ever. The best dessert we discovered was in a dusty Arab village at a roadside bakery. Several of my traveling companions and I crowded into the open kitchen and watched as three men laid out yards of kadayif—thin strands of shredded phyllo pastry— twisting it over crumbled white cheese, then baked it ‘til golden. Cut and drenched in honey, kunafi is manna from heaven. It can also be made flat and round, sliced and served like pizza, made with rose or orange water, but all are sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Our meals and our time in the Holy Land were marked by the abundant spirit of our many hosts, their warmth and hospitality. I’ll not forget the teenage boy (repeat—teenage boy) who offered to walk with me after putting a map to my destination from his phone onto mine! I had gotten hopelessly lost in a Hasidic neighborhood just before Shabbat and could not have found my way without his kind help. This same spirit was present throughout our pilgrimage, reflected by people from every religion, every ethnicity we encountered. An abundant feast indeed. Top: Mezze is served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Middle: The best yogurt is Druze. Bottom: Kunafi, melted cheese wrapped in phyllo and drizzled with honey is a special treat.
| 19 | MARCH 2016
Part of the Jordan River, thought to be near its source.
WHAT FAITH CAN ENVISION by the Rev. William L. Sachs, Ph.D. Along the Jordan River there is a stretch where two nations are only feet apart. From the Jordanian side, one can watch Christians gather on the Israeli side. Recently I looked across the narrow divide as a Greek Orthodox baptism unfolded. We were yards apart yet we were separate, and we passed with little notice. Divisions of the Holy Land run deeper still. A rabbi on an interfaith pilgrimage was quiet as the group’s bus reached St. George’s College, the Anglican Center in Arab West Jerusalem. While he had studied in Jerusalem for several years as part of his rabbinic training, he had never been to the Arab sector of the city. He had never glimpsed Christians at the Jordan River. Much of Israel and Jordan is “holy land” for three religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. There are common sources and ideals for the three faiths. Their followers visit sacred sites, many with common reference points, but different meaning. For centuries people have found inspiration here. Now the Middle East appears trapped in extremism and violence. Holy places are marked by divisions that appear insurmountable. One group’s triumph is another’s defeat. Memories of alienation fuel narrow intentions and extremists promote violent catharsis. To compound the problem, refugees from Syria and Iraq are spreading across the region and filtering toward Europe. A new exodus prompts a fresh search for promise in relation to the land. It does not conclude the IsraeliPalestinian tension, but it sets that conflict in broader perspective—traumatized people seeking a place of welcome. In Amman, I learned that more than 1.3 million Syrians have fled to Jordan, compounded by more than 700,000 Iraqi refugees in a nation of only seven million people otherwise. More than one million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey and another million to Lebanon—many trying to reach Europe and North America. The heart of the refugee challenge, and of the Middle East crisis as a whole, is religious as well as social. It forces Photo: Carol E. Barnwell
the question of offering welcome to the stranger, a central ethic for Muslims, Jews and Christians. It recalls the story of the Good Samaritan, a social outcast who aided a wounded traveler. Effective attention to the crises that divide us requires that religious people embrace their ideals more fully. We must not only speak of compassion in our pulpits; we must live compassion in our daily lives. Efforts to resolve the Middle East crisis have followed the logic of each people having its own state. National boundaries drafted after World War I took this approach. A “two state” solution has proven elusive but maintains the same ideal. Now larger events may render it moot. The solution may lie in the vision people of faith can bring. We can no longer pass by each other silently, nor resist going to each other’s areas of the city or holy sites. We must learn to live with one another and appreciate one another. This is the core teaching of each faith. It must be the core purpose of how people of each faith live. Can compassion’s influence be envisioned? In Defining Neighbors (Princeton, 2014), Jonathan Marc Gribetz describes how, a century ago, Muslims, Jews and Christians, lived together on Middle East land that now is contested. They presumed they shared the same land and were neighbors, inclined to see common features in their faiths. A broad sense of community resisted exclusive claims. The past’s lessons can be applied to contemporary challenges. The ideals of faith can become vivid on land called holy. If we can apply those ideals together, a better future may loom, in the Middle East and here at home. Faith and the land it claims cannot be exclusive. We must envision being neighbors for the benefit of all. This is what small groups of pilgrims can discover and can pursue. Faith can envision a way forward. There can be common ground if we dare to see and to envision together. Sachs is priest associate at St. Stephen’s, Richmond, VA, a Fellow of the Center for Anglican Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary, and an author and consultant. Diolog
| 21 | MARCH 2016
THE HOLY LAND
PEACE BEGINS AT SCHOOL
Schools Help to Stabilize Communities in Volatile Communities by Anne K. Lynn they would receive no education at all, draining their families of scarce resources.
When we think of the Middle East, words like terrorism, oil and refugees might come to mind. Think of the Holy Land and you might think of Jesus, the Apostles or holy sites. Yet we know theyâ€™re the same place. And families are struggling here. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem operates 15 schools in Israel, Palestine and Jordan, educating all, regardless of religious, ethnic or economic background. This includes a number of Syrian refugees who have made their way to Jordan. The Arab Evangelical School and Saviour School in Jordan mainstreams blind and low vision children with sighted ones to insure that these challenged children have a chance to live productive, independent lives. Public schools will not accept them, and without the Episcopal Church,
The Episcopal Technical and Vocational Training Center in Ramallah prepares high school students for careers in the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants and resorts. Every student has a job offer or a place in university when he or she graduates. In the West Bank, with unemployment among young adults more than 30 percent, this is an important opportunity. In addition, thereâ€™s a computer science curriculum that includes skill building in both hardware and software. Students compete in robotic and other technological competitions, usually placing in the top tier. With travel restricted for West Bank residents, computer skills allow a young employee to share his or her work around the world. An educated student has more options, can make decisions based on fact, can group problem-solve and work with others to reach shared goals. This prepares them for future leadership and the capacity to sustain a peace when
High school students are trained for jobs in the hospitality industry in Haifa.
A sighted leader guides blind kindergarteners to recess.
Classrooms are crowded, but the quality of education is high in Haifa.
it comes. Stabilizing communities by offering jobs, education and health care services is a critical diocesan goal. The Diocese of Jerusalem is truly living the Gospel in the place where it was written. The Schneller School in Marka, Jordan, works with at-risk boys and girls who have been abandoned or abused. The school is adjacent to a refugee camp and most students need scholarship support. Schneller is both a boarding and a day school and can offer a home to those who have suffered much in their young lives. The school offers vocational training
in addition to academic education, preparing students for jobs and a future. The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, under the leadership of the Most Rev. Suheil Dawani, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. In addition to schools, they operate two full service hospitals, four outpatient clinics, three institutes for the disabled and a number of homes for the elderly. While Christians made up 30 percent of the population in the 19th century, they are less than 2 percent today. These dwindling communities cannot survive
without outside support. We believe an educated child is a critical building block for peace in this volatile region. The ministry of this dwindling community cannot survive without support from friends in America and the broader Anglican Communion. Our American Friends partner with the Diocese of Jerusalem to find scholarship aid for thousands of needy families in our Holy Land and we invite them to learn more about this essential work at www.afedj.org. Lynn is president of the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.
| 23 | MARCH 2016
HOLY LAND CONTINUALLY NEW THROUGH PILGRIMS’ EYES Iyad Qumri guides Christian pilgrims on tours of the Holy Land. An Arab Palestinian Christian, Qumri was born and raised in Jerusalem, and grew up within the Arabic community and culture. He is a lifelong member of St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, attended college in the United States, and after returning to Jerusalem, met his wife Simone while working at St. George’s College. They have two grown sons, Sami and Rami. Qumri sat down with Carol E. Barnwell, editor of Diolog to answer some questions during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land in September, 2015. CEB: How did you first experience your faith?
IQ: I continue to be surprised by what a powerful effect a
IQ: My societal community is the Palestinian people, but maybe
pilgrimage can have on a person or a parish group. It has been
because we are so few (now shrunk to less than 2% of the total population), Christians here have a strong identity and sense of community. Attending St. George’s School and Cathedral while growing up, along with the example of my parents and grandparents, helped form my understanding of the Christian faith. At one time, I seriously wondered if God was calling me to serve the Church as a priest. While some say I have a “big” personality, I value quiet gratitude and humility—even reading these words about myself can feel uncomfortable!
CEB: Was being a guide for pilgrims something you always wanted to do or was it the result of a series of things in your life?
IQ: I wasn’t sure about a profession as I reached maturity but simply knew I wanted to work hard and support my family. After a number of small commercial jobs, I was fortunate to be part of the excellent team at St. George’s College. There I had an opportunity to see firsthand the transforming experiences of Christian pilgrims who came to this land, so familiar to me. When I saw an ad seeking qualified candidates to attend a comprehensive course for tour guides, my wife, Simone, gave me the nudge. After two years of study and training, I was the only Arab, Palestinian Christian in my class of 50 otherwise Israeli Jewish guide hopefuls. I am both proud and deeply grateful for my official guide’s license conferred by the Israel Ministry of Tourism.
CEB: What has been the most rewarding part of your work? Is there a holy site that is particularly meaningful to you? 24 |
satisfying for me to be part of a wonderful exchange of gifts: For pilgrims, the Bible stories are familiar but the land in which they took place is unfamiliar. For me, this land is my home but being with pilgrims has deepened my familiarity with the stories and their power. The biblical sites are most meaningful to me not in isolation, but when I experience them anew with a group of openhearted pilgrims. Suddenly their curiosity and wonder brings each site to life in a new and unexpected way. It’s hard to pick a favorite: maybe celebrating the Eucharist with a group at daybreak overlooking the Wadi Qelt in the Judean desert or at midday Eucharist on Mount Eremos overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
CEB: Tell us a little about the Old City in Jerusalem. IQ: The Old City is a highly concentrated experience of all that this land holds: beauty, color, sound, scents, foods, visitors from all over the world, varied religious practices, politics and ordinary humans going about their daily tasks. It holds all the joy and pain of the larger land within a square mile of history and presentday struggle. There are busy and crowded areas as well as large and small oases of quiet and mysticism. There are waves of joy, excitement, anger, resentment and hope. The Old City is changing, however, not just with slow, natural processes but with deliberate and programmed purpose, steeped in ideology and a desire to take over, to crowd the other out, to dominate. It’s difficult to watch this unfold.
CEB: Was Jerusalem as divided as it is today when you were
Guide Iyad Qumri shares some of the daily challenges Palestinians experience when he takes pilgrims to the concrete wall that divides Israel and the West Bank.
born? How has it changed?
radicalized distortions of religious faith, whether Jewish, Christian
IQ: It’s strange that the “Green Line” that divided the city until
or Muslim, especially when they lead to any kind of violence, either
about the time I was born can still be seen with the eye of the
in actions or in structural systemic violence.
mind. And in these years since the collapse of Oslo’s hopes in the
CEB: How are Palestinian Christians treated? I believe I
90s, it seems that people have been pushed away from each other
remember you saying the population used to be 20% Christian.
by political and ideological interests. I’m grateful to still have
What is it now?
contacts throughout the city and its various religious and cultural
IQ: Christians, who once made up more than 20% of the total
communities but the closeness and optimism we once shared have really been taken from us.
CEB: I saw many Jews practicing their religion when I visited Jerusalem, but I also understand from friends here that many Jews in Israel are not active religiously? Is that your experience?
IQ: It’s not really appropriate for me to comment on the religious practice of Jews here but a few things are generally known. Jerusalem itself has become more externally “religious” for Jews and everyone else. As in your country, some form of politicized religious thought has entered into policy-making. I think it’s fair to say that in Tel Aviv and the larger State of Israel actual religious practice is far lower, with many actively embracing a secular mentality while retaining a Jewish identity.
CEB: Many Palestinians are Muslim, but many are Christian. How have the Christians fared amidst the tensions between Israeli and Palestinian areas?
population and now are less than 2 percent, are treated well by our Palestinian Muslim sisters and brothers. But both communities suffer because of policies of the Israeli government. A good summary was presented in the CBS Sixty Minutes segment of a few years ago about the vanishing Christian communities in the Holy Land (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lfCqisw8uQ).
CEB: What is it like to live in Israel today? What would you like people to know about your country?
IQ: Living in Israel-Palestine is very challenging but challenge can often bring great strength and reward. Most of us don’t lack the external basics for living (although unemployment in the occupied West Bank and Gaza is at critically damaging and dangerous levels), but the constant and systemic and ever-reaching bars to full freedom of movement, development, opportunity and safety can produce despair and desperate reactions. Something has to change soon for the better. Almost every one of the nine million inhabitants of this small land only want full freedom to thrive, to
IQ: Sometimes as we bring groups into Jerusalem from the
work, to enjoy family and community and faith … a full humanity.
airport, we pass a large mosque and a large Roman Catholic
I again invite you to come and meet us, be with us, get to know us,
girls’ high school sitting side by side on a city block. This is the
let us shower you with hospitality, join us in prayer and in shared
long-standing and still strong general respect and regard which
meals and in the exploration of the holy places and what they
Palestinian Muslims and Christians mutually share. We all lament
might mean for a 21st century world.
| 25 | MARCH 2016
PROFILE: THE ARTS
A PILGRIM’S TALE OF RELIGIOUS BODY ART by Ken Chitwood Apparently, your chest is one of the more painful spots one can get a tattoo. I didn’t know that little tidbit when I buzzed the Razzouks’ “call up” button next to a nearly invisible old door in one of the winding alleyways of the suq. What I did know was that I was about to be in contact with a seven-century-old tattooing tradition. Indeed, for nearly 700 years tattooing has been the profession of the Razzouk family. I found Wassim Razzouk by asking a jeweler near the Jaffa Gate: “I’m looking for a tattoo artist, do you know … ?” Before I could finish my sentence, the jeweler said, “You mean the Razzouks?” Their notoriety preceded my rendezvous with history. After a circuitous and, at times, comical scavenger hunt for the Razzouk family home up and down the winding market streets of Jerusalem’s Old City, I finally shook hands with the capable and charismatic Wassim Razzouk. The baby-blue ceilinged, confined space of his family’s home doubles as a pilgrims tattoo parlor. In contrast to the bustling passageways of the Old City, the Razzouk home is tranquil, only the whir of the electric needle and my bated breath interrupt the quiet. Yes, I held my breath throughout the process. Not only did I not want to rattle Razzouk’s rock-solid hand as he etched a sacred design over my heart, but I felt the weight of history upon my chest as well. After all, I was inscribing a mix of faith, physical journeys and spiritual intimations onto my body with ink, flesh and blood. I was not alone. Thousands of pilgrims stood before me with a myriad of religious traditions and personages that wove their way into my tattoo as well. Coptic Christians, the Razzouk family originated in Egypt. As Anton Razzouk, the family’s elder statesman, recalls, “the [family’s tattoo] business can be traced back to a Coptic ancestor who traveled by camel and donkey from 26 |
Egypt to Jerusalem for a pilgrimage about 300 years ago and decided to remain.” Jersuis was a Coptic priest and brought the tattooing art he had learned from his forefathers to Palestine around 1750. Today, Wassim Razzouk carries on the centuries-old tradition. Tattooing serves as a marker of Christian identity in the Coptic tradition (and among other Eastern Christian communities—Ethiopian, Armenian, Syrian, Maronite, Kildanian, etc.). Historically, small crosses tattooed on the inside of the right wrist were given to Coptic Christians (some as early as 40 days old) and these marks granted religious peregrines access to sacred sites across Christendom. Designs of pilgrimage tattoos have ranged from that of the Annunciation (for virgins, apparently) to the classic Coptic cross and images of Christ in his passion. In the past, the Razzouks and other artists used olive and cedar wood blocks to stencil the designs on before commencing their work of making the design permanent. The blocks were important in allowing for rapid work during busy seasons like Easter. The Razzouk family has had as many as 200 different tattoo designs over the years. Several of these wooden stamps remain in the Razzouk family and are said to have been used to tattoo the likes of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, King George V and King Edward VII of England. Their designs are various and many contain dates to mark the year of pilgrimage. The tattoo I received can be dated back to the 17th century. Pilgrimage tattoos also include designs that signify where the pilgrim had journeyed to, which sacred sites he or she had visited. This was not only inscribing one’s spiritual journey in ink and blood, but one’s physical pathway through the Holy Land. Simultaneously, tattoos
among Christians in the Middle East could be maps, keys or testimonies. As time wore on, European devotees who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land would have Christian symbols or scenes inked onto their bodies to commemorate the experience. In 1680, Lutheran theologian Johannes Lundius spoke of Christians who made pilgrimages to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and made marks on their bodies “because of the special sacred awe associated with the place and because of the desire to prove that they had been there.” Many pilgrims over the last 300 years undoubtedly came to the Razzouks in the Old City, but there were other tattoo artists who would perform the service on the cobblestoned streets or in passageways between churches and shrines. Today, the Razzouks are unique in the Old City, but they are not alone in the tradition of religious tattooing, prevalent the world over. From Judeo-Christian symbols to pentagrams to Buddhist mandalas, many religious adherents choose to proclaim some aspect of their faith or practice through body art. Though the symbols may fade with time, or cause a commotion today, they are ultimately simple and yet strong expressions of personal devotion. In a recent article by Miliann Kang and Katherine Jones in the e-zine New Tattoo Subculture, they write: “The tattoo speaks to the ongoing, complex need for humans to express themselves through the appearance of their bodies … The popularity of tattoos attests to their power as vehicles for self-expression, commemoration, community building, and social commentary.” Without entering into a full-fledged discussion of religious aesthetics and meaningful religious iconography, religious tattoos serve as powerful vehicles for self-expression and whether they are beautiful, boring, contentious or cool, they act as an interpretive tool for people to understand religion, their own or others’. All religious art serves a dual purpose as a hermeneutic of a theological truth (for the artist, or the inked) and as a window through which observers interpret a religion and its adherents. In the end, religious tattoos, just like a Christian fresco or an artistically scribed Qu’ran, serve as interpretive vehicles through which humans give voice to their religious devotion and allow others to comprehend religious truth through art. Just a few years ago it seemed that the family line of Razzouk tattoo artists would finally come to an end. The tradition had been passed from father to son for ages, but when Anton Razzouk wanted to retire, his son Wassim was not initially interested.
“I was young and more into motorcycles than family,” Wassim said. “Then I realized what I was giving up and that I did not want the centuries-old story to end with me.” He expressed interest to his father and began his apprenticeship. From the moment he took over a tattoo midway through, because his father’s eyes were tired, Wassim has never looked back. Now, using a few rooms of the original family home where his ancestors tattooed the faithful of the world, Wassim feels compelled to pass on the tradition. He is a man of many ventures (with a possible motorcycle shop in his future) but, when I ask if his son will take up the sacred work of tattooing pilgrims, Wassim said, “Of course!” The lines of pilgrims seeking tattoos has died down and the path of the future is as uncertain in the unassuming location of this tiny parlor in Old Jerusalem, but the tradition will live on in some measure, carved into the unwritten laws of generations of the Razzouk family. As he wraps up his work on my chest, Wassim said to me, “You have the skin for tattoos.” I look at the finished tattoo and in the moment the room is still and silent—a solemn second in time. As I look in the mirror I reflect on the fact that I have now imbedded this journey—both of faith and of pilgrimage—onto my body and joined thousands of pilgrims past, present and future. This is not just a tattoo, I think, but a history, a community, a place and a people. More than ink, it is part of how I make my way through this world in thought and deed. The good news is that I am meant for this journey and I am not alone. Chitwood is a Lutheran theologian, pastor and speaker and Ph.D. student at the University of Florida. Follow his blog on religion and culture at www.kenchitwood.com/blog/ Diolog
| 27 | MARCH 2016
Centre Assists Most Vulnerable Children The Princess Basma Centre for Children with Disabilities, located in Jerusalem, is a nonprofit institution entrusted to the Anglican Episcopal Church in Jerusalem that provides services to children with disabilities, regardless of their religious affiliation. Established in 1965, the center is named for Princess Basma bint Talal, sister to Jordan’s former monarch, King Hussein. The Princess Basma Centre provides children and their families’ education and physical rehabilitation, and supports training for teachers and parents to work with children with disabilities. Additionally, they also work to influence favorable policy and legislation in the best interests of children with disabilities. The Centre’s work is guided by the fundamental values expressed in the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Initially founded for children suffering from polio, the Centre was entrusted to the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Anglican Episcopal Church in 2000 and currently serves families from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and through additional outreach clinics in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron. The Centre treats more than 650 children per year suffering from cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, head injuries, osteoporosis, neuromuscular diseases, burns, learning difficulties/disabilities, children with autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Saji Azyoud, 15 months old, had suffered severe nerve damage during his delivery. Despite repeated efforts with local clinics, his mother, Laila, was unable to find help or even a diagnosis until she was referred to the Princess Basma Centre. When he arrived, Saji had major developmental delays, restricted movement of his tongue and poor visual and auditory responses. With a customized and comprehensive rehabilitation program, Saji is now 28 |
able to stand and walk alone and to use both hands, and is learning to express himself verbally. “I might have lost Saji” without the Centre’s professionals, Laila said. “We want Palestinian children with disabilities have access to quality health care and inclusive education so that they and their families can participate and have influence, have hope and opportunities,” said the Centre’s General Director, Ibrahim Faltas. “Our mission is to empower children with disabilities and help them integrate into their communities,” Faltas added. Beginning in 1999, services for hearing impaired children from East Jerusalem, as well as training opportunities for the disabled adults, began. By 2010, the Centre began to work with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. This is now one of the most important programs offered, and the Centre has become one of the pioneering institutions in autism treatment among the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza institutions. Autistic children receive occupational and speech therapy and psychotherapy, as well as sessions in a specially designed sensory room. Teams of trainers from the Centre also reach out to other institutions to share best practices and offer training and counseling. Teachers at the Centre remain up-to-date with the latest treatment protocols through programs from local and international institutions in order to build their capacity and constantly improve the level of services they offer their students. The Centre’s school serves nearly 600 students, 30 percent of whom live with various disabilities. The school is a model for inclusive education, K-12, where children with disabilities study side by side with children without disabilities. The school also includes special classes for children with learning difficulties, ADHD, autism or hearing disabilities. Children with disabilities also
receive comprehensive rehabilitation and psychological support. The Centre also runs a physiotherapy clinic for adults, which treats more than 1000 patients per year. Noor Eldein Mbayed, a smiling 12-year-old, went undiagnosed with cerebral palsy after he hit his head in an accident when he was six months old and did not develop appropriate verbal or physical skills. At the age of two and a half years, he was finally referred to the Princess Basma Centre, and his mother finally learned that his poor development was due to a birth defect. Noor began physiotherapy and occupational, speech and recreational therapy to help him become more independent. Regular visits and attendance in preschool have allowed him to become a successful sixth grader, fully integrated into his community. He continues to receive appropriate therapies and attends the Princess Basma Inclusive School. “Our hope is to expand our model for inclusive education programs into schools in the West Bank to provide children with disabilities across Palestine the right to equal educational opportunities,” Faltas said. Additionally, the Princess Basma Centre offers a small handicrafts workshop that trains adults with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities, who are referred from the Ministry of Social Affairs. The program helps to build capacity and create jobs for people with disabilities that will help them become independent and integrated in their community. A personalized vocational training program helps each of the 22 people now employed work to his or
her ability and interest. The group has built a strong social network with one another, and produces ceramic trays, coffee tables and sea grass furniture that are sold to help cover some of the cost of the program. A program to empower nearly 360 mothers annually and their families coincides with the rehabilitation program. This partnership ensures that families participate in the rehabilitation of their children, and are aware of needs and rights of their children. Mothers receive full accommodation for several weeks during their child’s stay, sometimes on several occasions. They accompany their child to every therapy session and are trained to continue some of the rehabilitation activities when they return home. Another benefit provided by the Princess Basma Centre is the clinical training program for students from a number of national Palestinian universities in physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy, and social work. This partnership continues to support the training of new professionals to expand the Centre’s work throughout the country.
To learn more or to help sponsor a child/mother, go to www.basma-centre.org. Diolog
| 29 | MARCH 2016
THE DIOCESE OF JERUSALEM
RECONCILIATION at Heart of Anglicanism in the
HOLY LAND by Carol E. Barnwell Anglicanism, which celebrates 175 years in Jerusalem this year, was first established in 1841with the arrival of the Rt. Rev. Michael Solomon Alexander, a converted Jew. The Church Missionary Society created a permanent presence in Palestine at the invitation of the second Bishop in Jerusalem, Samuel Gobat in 1850, supported in part by the Anglo-Prussian desire to unite Protestants (Anglican and Lutheran) led by King William IV of Prussia. Today, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is home to 7,000 Anglicans in 26 parishes in five countries: Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Through its institutions, the Diocese responds to health care and educational needs of the people, with no distinction between religion, race or gender, maintaining a voice of moderation and reconciliation with interfaith neighbors. The schools teach peace, respect, cooperation and skills necessary for children to become responsible contributing members of society. Bishop Gobat, who followed Alexander in July of 1846, opened schools, ordained the first Palestinian priests and ministered mainly among local Christians. The bishopric became solely Anglican in 1887, centered at Christ Church until St. George Collegiate Church in Jerusalem was completed in 1898. Political tensions in the region have always affected life in the Diocese. The 1948 war dealt a blow to the Church in Jerusalem that took up the added task of helping Palestinian refugees. The Archbishop of Canterbury appointed the Bishop of Jerusalem Archbishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East in 1973, which then included the Sudan, Somalia, Egypt, North Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Cyprus and the Gulf. The Diocese of Jerusalem is one of four dioceses in the province. The Rt. Rev. Samir Kafity, the second Palestinian to serve as Bishop in Jerusalem, was instrumental in developing many of the local institutions and parishes of the Diocese and increased the numbers of those seeking Holy Orders. His successors have emphasized a just peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East. Bishop Suheil Dawani succeeded Riah Abu El-Assal in 2007 and continues his leadership today with a vision for peace and reconciliation marked by strengthening the Christian presence in the Holy Land. Together with global and interfaith partners, Bishop Dawani encourages reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians and strives to make Jerusalem a model for peace among the three Abrahamic faiths.
Photos: Carol E. Barnwell
| 31 | MARCH 2016
A scene from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre within the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
“It is our task to give hope to the hopeless,” he said, adding, “In our daily lives may we be guided by the star of God’s love.” Today, the Diocese sponsors 20 educational institutions for 6,400 Arab children, regardless of faith. These schools include mainstream education K-12, centers for children with special needs and technical and vocational schools. St. George’s College, near the Damascus Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem, was established in 1920 to provide theological studies for Palestinian seminarians. By the 1960s, political complexities and challenges required a broader vision to educate clergy and laity from the worldwide Anglican Communion in order to remain viable. Today, St. George’s offers courses for lay and clergy, opportunities for pilgrimage and a unique setting for interfaith engagement. Health care, especially for those who cannot afford to pay, is an important and growing ministry of the Diocese, which offers homes for the elderly, therapeutic residential facilities for special needs students, clinics, rehabilitation
centers and hospitals. The Diocese has 200 hospital beds, rural and mobile clinics, which serve thousands of patients each year. (See page 14, June 2011 Diolog, for a story on the Jofeh Community Rehabilitation Center in Jordan and page 14 of this issue for a story on the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in Jerusalem.) Additional ministries of the Diocese include a vibrant women’s ministry, led by Bishop Dawani’s wife, Shafeeqa Dawani. Regional meetings empower and strengthen women, support them in their community ministries and develop leadership skills. Anglican youth are often faced with restriction of mobility and opportunity due to the divisions between Israeli and Palestinian areas of the Holy Land. The Diocese offers support for travel permits and scholarships, vital to strengthening the youth’s relationships; and leadership programs encourage young members to become leaders in their communities. “We invest in [our youth’s] schooling and formation to
support them in becoming peacemaking citizens,” Bishop Dawani said. Bishop Dawani engages in building positive interfaith and ecumenical relationships, both in the Holy Land and abroad. He seeks to foster peacemaking dialogue and to affirm Christians who live in the predominately Muslim and Jewish cultures of the region, and he has established a peace and reconciliation ministry through which he works to build mutual respect, acceptance and tolerance with interfaith partners. One such ministry, Kids4Peace, focuses on shared values of loving God and neighbor, which is evident in all three Abrahamic faiths and includes youth of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths. (Read about Kids4Peace, page 32, Sept. 2012 Diolog.)
GOOD FRIDAY OFFERING The history of the Good Friday Offering reaches back to 1922 when, in the aftermath of World War I, The Episcopal Church sought to create new relationships with and among the Christians of the Middle East. From these initial efforts, which focused on a combination of relief work and the improvement of ecumenical and Anglican relations, the Good Friday Offering was created. It is an effective way to express
Christians in Israel number about 160,000 today, and while Bethlehem was once 90 percent Christian, today it is 65 percent Muslim. The Christian population of the entire Middle East has dropped from 20 percent in 1900 to 4 percent today and less than 2 percent in Israel and Palestine, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post. This dwindling Christian population is due “to emigration caused by political strife, military occupation, and economic hardships,” Bishop Dawani said. One of his priorities is to strengthen that historic Christian presence as “living stones in the Holy Land.”
support for the ministries of the four
The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is engaged in a ministry of Faith in Action in an interfaith region, spreading a message of mutual respect and cooperation through its many institutions, working to bring peace and reconciliation to this conflict-torn region.
all of God’s children.
The editor gratefully acknowledges the help of Archdeacon Emeritus Rafiq Farah, from the Diocese of Jerusalem for his help with this article.
dioceses of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Pastoral care, education and health care continue to be primary ministries through which the reconciling spirit of the Christian faith serves all in need. The generous donations of Episcopalians help the Christian presence in the Holy Land to be a vital and effective force for peace and understanding among Make your donation at church on Good Friday or write a check payable to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, marked “Good Friday Offering” in the memo line, and mail to: DFMS – Protestant Episcopal Church US P.O. Box 958983 St. Louis, MO 63195-8983
| 33 | MARCH 2016
CALENDAR & PEOPLE Calendar of Events APRIL
LITTLE CHURCH CLUB MEETING
SHARING FAITH DINNERS
The Episcopal Health Foundation will present this year’s Little Church Club program at Camp Allen.
Churches across the diocese will gather in small groups to take part in Sharing Faith dinners that provide a welcoming and safe way to engage one another and build relationships. Visit sharingfaithdinners.com for more information.
20-23 EPISCOPAL COMMUNICATORS CONFERENCE, PORTLAND, OREGON Church communicators face greater challenges than
ever. Come and find out what tools, awareness and skills are needed to fulfill our calling. Visit episcopalcommunicators.org to register.
SUMMIT (INVITE WELCOME CONNECT)
best practices for evangelism. Register at campallen.org.
Join others from around The Episcopal Church to learn
EPISCOPAL NIGHT WITH THE ASTROS
Come join other Episcopalians at Minute Maid Park in Houston as the Astros take on the Chicago White Sox. Visit epicenter.org/Astros for more information.
DIOCESAN MUSIC CAMP
This year’s Diocesan Music Camp will take place July 10-16 in Brenham, TX. Check out epicenter.org/ musiccommission for more information.
To view a full calendar or a list of upcoming bishops’ visitations, go to epicenter.org/ cal and search by the bisho’s name or dates. The search box is on the center, right of the calendar landing page. You may also submit events from this page.
People The Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis is now associate to the rector at St. Andrew’s, Houston.
The Rev. Jim McGill has retired as canon missioner at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston.
The Rev. John Carr is now vicar at St. Luke’s, Lindale. Carr was previously pastoral leader at St. Luke’s, Lindale.
The Rev. Eileen O’Brien is now campus missioner at the University of Houston. She will continue as curate at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston until June 2016, when she will become the full-time campus missioner at UH.
The Rev. Anthony Clark has accepted the call as rector of St. Mark’s, Beaumont. He was previously dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Orlando, Florida
The Rev. Andy Parker has accepted the call as rector at Emmanuel, Houston, effective March 7. Parker is currently the rector at St. Timothy’s, Lake Jackson.
The Rev. Cindy Clark is now vicar at Epiphany, Calvert. Clark was previously pastoral leader at Epiphany, Calvert.
The Rev. Jeff Davis is now vicar at All Saints’, Cameron. Davis was previously pastoral leader intern at All Saints’, Cameron.
The Rev. Chuck Treadwell has accepted the call as rector at St. David’s, Austin, effective March 20. Treadwell is currently the rector at St. Paul’s, Waco.
The Rev. Robert DeWolfe is now priest-in-charge at Christ Church, San Augustine. DeWolfe was previously assisting priest at Christ Church, San Augustine.
The Rev. Philip Turner is now interim rector at Grace, Georgetown. The Rev. John “Trey” Garland, formerly rector at Grace, Georgetown, has been received into the Roman Catholic Church.
The Rev. Viktoria Gotting has accepted the call as rector at St. John’s, LaPorte. Gotting was previously associate rector at St. Christopher’s, Houston.
The Rev. Link Hullar has retired. Hullar was previously vicar at St. Luke’s, Livingston.
The Rev. Albert J. “Bert” Ettling, retired, died November 16 at St. James’ House, Baytown. . Please keep the Ettling family in your prayers.
Summit* Camp Allen April 28-30, 2016 Workshops include how to use the Invite • Welcome • Connect materials in addition to a number of practical offerings from those who have used the newcomer project in their own churches. These materials provide excellent congregational development tools that include creative, concrete resources to form a strategic and intentional newcomer ministry.
Our preacher is the Rev. Dr. Patrick Gahan, rector of Christ Episcopal Church in San Antonio. Plenary Speakers The Rev. Jimmy Abbott The Rev. Marcus Halley
The Rev. Dr. Hillary Raining The Very Rev. Carol Wade
Invite • Welcome • Connect: each is a vital step for building healthy, vibrant and growing congregations. Plan now to attend. Details at epicenter.org/summit. * Summit: A conference of leaders called to shape a program of action
This LENTEN SEASON, hear how the Episcopal Church welcomes Latino immigrants. facebook.com/diocesisdetexas A lo largo de la temporada de la Cuaresma, escucha cómo la Iglesia Episcopal le dió la bienvenida a los inmigrantes latinos. For a list of our hispanic congregations visit: iglesiaepiscopaltx.com
The Episcopal Diocese of Texas 1225 Texas Street Houston, TX 77002-3504
Itâ€™s never too early to get excited about camp. Watch your mail for the June issue of the Diolog on Camp Allen!
Photo: Lauren Day
Join us at Camp Allen for one of our action-packed, faith-filled summer camp sessions! Since 1921, we have provided youth with one of the best weeks of their lives. See full schedule at: www.campallen.org.
The Holy Land is sacred to half of humanity. My own pilgrimage last September renewed my curiosity for Scripture and the people of this plac...
Published on Mar 1, 2016
The Holy Land is sacred to half of humanity. My own pilgrimage last September renewed my curiosity for Scripture and the people of this plac...