On pilgrimage with Southwark Diocese

Mon Apr 29, 2013

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Before Easter, 128 pilgrims from the Anglican Diocese of Southwark travelled with us on pilgrimage to the Holyland.  Central to their pilgrimage were visits to three project partners of the McCabe Educational Trust and these projects became the focus of the Bishop Christopher’s Lent Call.  Each project can expect to receive a substantial donation to their ongoing work.    We were delighted to be involved with such an inspirational pilgrimage.   

 

The pilgrimage

Three coaches named respectively Faith, Hope and Love transported the pilgrims, who reflected the rich diversity of the Diocese.  They were welcomed into a land of even greater diversity. Those at home were not forgotten and each day Canon Wendy Robins updated a daily blog (with 1,100 followers!) on the Diocesan website.  The party were made especially welcome by the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem and the Dean of St. George’s cathedral. The Christian community is becoming ever smaller in the Holy Land and the impact pilgrimage makes should not be under-estimated.  A great time of fellowship was had in joint worship in Jerusalem and Nazareth.  

 

The pilgrims visited three projects recommended by the McCabe Educational Trust.  Each is run by an outstanding Christian entrepreneur.  After the pilgrimage, these projects became a central focus of the Bishop’s Lent Call.  Money is still coming in but each project can expect to receive a sizeable donation, acknowledging the Diocese’s commitment to directly support the Christian community in the Holy land.   The McCabe Educational Trust supports these projects by arranging pilgrim visits and by sending regular financial support.  All are examples of Christian leadership providing a service to all, regardless of religion or ability to pay.  They are so grateful for pilgrim visits which give great encouragement.

These were the projects visited:

Princess Basma Centre

The centre opened in 1965 as a fledgling hospital helping Palestinian children suffering with polio and cerebral palsy. The new centre enjoyed the active support of the Jordanian royal family and King Hussein’s sister, Amira Basma, officially opened the first building and gave her name to the work.  Almost fifty years later, Basma has gone from strength to strength and for thirty of those years, Betty Majaj has been the remarkable Christian Director.

 

Bethlehem Rehab Centre 

The Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation works tirelessly to enhance the lives of the physically and mentally disabled. Their main purpose is to re-integrate people with all kinds of disability back into their society and help them achieve a degree of independence. The Director, Edmund Shehadeh, is another outstanding example of Christian care and witness in the Holy Land.

 

Jeel Al Amal Boys Home

Bethany, once home to Mary, Martha and Lazarus, is now home to a hundred boys at Jeel al Amal. Here, a remarkable Christian lady, Najwa Sahhar, continues the work begun by her parents. The boys come from Jerusalem and from towns and villages in the Palestinian territories.  Many are orphans or have endured terrible domestic problems. Many pilgrim visitors comment on how the love and devotion of the staff are reflected in the manners and sunny dispositions of the children. The care given here with so few resources is exceptional.     

 

Some thoughts from the pilgrimage leaders

 

from The Rt. Revd Christopher Chessun       “It was good to visit projects supported by the McCabe Educational Trust and to see for ourselves the struggles that local Christians face in their daily lives.  Our pilgrims were deeply moved by their visits.  As well as reflecting on the ministry and mission of Jesus, it was also important for us to engage with the present realities of life in the Holy Land.  I know our pilgrims returned home with much to think about and a renewed desire to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and her peoples.”      

 

from the Very Revd Andrew Nunn   “For many years Southwark Cathedral has worked with McCabe to deliver an exciting and popular pilgrimage programme.  This has been an excellent relationship not least because of the professionalism and expertise of all those who work for and with McCabe.   Our pilgrimages are always sold out and produce huge spiritual benefits to our community.”

 

Please pray for

Dorothy Nicholson.  Many will remember Canon Peter who faithfully administered our Trust and set-up our library.  Sadly his wife Dorothy is not at all well and is now being looked after in the Michael Sobell Hospice in London  

Avram Amsalem.  Again, many will have stayed with the three brothers at the Ron Beach Hotel beside the Sea of Galilee.  Sadly, Avram (Mulla’s twin) has suffered a serious heart attack.  After by-pass surgery he now faces a long period of recuperation   

Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated.    

 

Thank-you

A special thank you to McCabe pilgrims who helped us raise £31,000 during March and April.

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