(NJ Jewish News) Rabbi and vicar share insights on Israel journey

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Traveling to Israel with Jewish colleagues earlier this month had a transforming effect on the Rev. Susan Sica, vicar of Saint Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Parsippany.

“It would have been easy to go to Israel and have a sanitized experience that only touched on Christian sites — where Jesus walked, and that sort of thing. But then we would never have really looked at what Israel is today,” she told NJJN in a phone conversation a few days after returning.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsJudaism

6 Comments
Posted January 26, 2012 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Terry Tee wrote:

It sounds as if the group visited the Christian sites of the past but did not meet the Christian communities living there today.  Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, even Lutheran and Pentecostal are all represented there, some for many centuries.  May I take this opportunity to plead to readers:  if you plan a visit to the Holy Land - to Israel and the Palestinian territories - do make it a condition of the pilgrimage that you meet and preferably worship with local Christians.  For example, it is deeply moving to worship with the Greek Catholic (Melkite) people at their church just inside the Damascus Gate.  Anglicans, you have plenty of choice eg St George’s Cathedral Jerusalem (go on - try the Arabic language eucharist).  Local Christians are bewildered at how their fellow Christians from abroad visit the ancient stones but not the living stones.

January 26, 9:52 am | [comment link]
2. Catholic Mom wrote:

I had the opportunity to go to a Catholic Mass in Haifa at Easter one year.  The congregation was mostly Arab (descendents of Arabs converted by the Crusaders in Haifa—some of them have blue eyes.  I suspect there are few left there now) and the Mass was in Arabic.  I could still follow it though (except for the homily).  In honor of American visitors, however, their recessional hymn was “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” in English, which was kind of cool. smile

January 26, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
3. Catholic Mom wrote:

Sorry—I meant Jaffa.  Haifa is a beautiful city too though. smile

January 26, 4:01 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

Both cities have historically deep-rooted Arab Christian communities.  In Haifa - the large port city of the north - there are Greek Orthodox (who are actually Arab Orthodox), Greek Catholics (Melkites - Arab Catholics with a Byzantine style liturgy) and Maronites.  Overlooking Haifa is Mt Carmel, with strong associations with Elijah, and a shrine looked after by the Carmelites who are Latin rite.  Jaffa/Joppa has more or less been engulfed by Tel Aviv but the church you often see in pictures of the port is St Peter’s Catholic Church.

January 26, 7:58 pm | [comment link]
5. TomRightmyer wrote:

Jewish Christians and Evangelicals are found at Christ Church just inside the Jaffa Gate. The Lutheran Church near the Holy Sepulcher has an English service like Rite 2 with familiar hymns. The English service at St. George’s is very Church of England. St. George’s College provides opportunity to get to know Arab Anglicans.

January 27, 6:04 am | [comment link]
6. Terry Tee wrote:

Ooh what fun this is showing off our knowledge.  Anglicans also ought to know that there is Christ Church in Nazareth, an Arabic congregation, just down the road from the Frank Sinatra Youth Centre (I am not making that up).  Up the hill is the Basilica of the Annunciation, Latin Rite ie RC, and as a Catholic priest it pains me to say this, but it is one of the ugliest ecclesiastical buildings that I have ever encountered.  There it is on that sensitive site and it looks like a gigantic flying saucer with a peculiar internal arrangement of galleries floors and mostly hideous artwork.

January 27, 7:28 am | [comment link]
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