Missionary Stories

Feast of Saint Barbara. Eid al Burbara

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According to tradition, Burbara (Barbara in English) was the daughter of the pagan Dioscurus. On discovering that she became a Christian, her father tried to kill her, but she was miraculously transported out of his reach. Dioscurus denounced her to the authorities. Despite being tortured, she refused to denounce her faith. Her father killed her and was immediately struck by lightning and reduced to ashes. As a result of her father's fate, St. Barbara's prayers are especially sought as protection against thunderstorms and fire, and by an extension of this idea she became the patron saint of gunners, miners and firefighters.

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Roots Planted in Wolverhampton


United_Kingdom_Allison_2.pngAfter living in England for about 2 months, I have adjusted very well to my work schedule, made new friends, and know exactly the latest time I can leave the house to catch the train in time!

This is my work schedule so you can get a sense of my daily life.

 

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Correct Everything that Stands Against Love

 

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    Love. Love God, love neighbor. This is the message this Reformation Sunday; the day we celebrate the founding of our

Protestant faith; the day we remember when religious dogma was challenged and changed.

     Love, God. Love your neighbor. All the law and prophets depend on these two intertwined and entangled commandments.

   “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is from Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It is called the Shema. It builds on the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).

    In addition, Jews are instructed to bind this on their hands and to make it a symbol between their eyes. This is why Jewish people wear them in phylacteries on their foreheads or post them in mezuzahs on their doorposts and repeat them as part their daily worship. Both the Shema and Jesus ask us to love God without qualification---with all that we have and all that we are.

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Vandalized Again

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On the afternoon of September 19th, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, St. Stephens Church was vandalized. Father Martinelli said  they must have come in through the small side gate during a visit of a Russian pilgrim group . They entered past the beautiful 4th century mosaics and went straight to the altar and side chapels and knocked over and broke statues and crosses.

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Thrown Out

The catastrophe will be that one day I pass the house, after they have kicked us out,

to see an Israeli flag flying.” Mohammad Shamashneh

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In the Heat of the Summer

Lebanon_08_2017_Church_Yard.jpgIt has been an intense, tragic and difficult summer in many places in the world. But here in the sweltering heat of Beirut, teams of young people, in their teens, twenties and thirties, are spending week upon week serving children in refugee camps, overnight conferences and full-day Vacation Bible School programs throughout the city as well as the country. With energy, commitment and creativity, these young people start their planning work months in advance and either design their own lessons or adapt curricula donated from churches overseas. They prepare anything from a week-long camp to a five- to six-week program that encompasses not just Bible lessons, worship and prayer, but also games and activities that stretch the children’s minds and imaginations. And they do it in Armenian, Arabic, English and French, and sometimes a combination of them!

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Palermo Perspectives: Having to Think about / Deal with Race

As part of my Global Ministries placement this summer, I am to share my reflections. So every couple of weeks, I will also send a “Palermo Perspective” to Old First, sort of a report since you all are making my summer service possible.

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Young Men of Military Age

When I first moved to Hungary I was often asked by well-meaning friends and family if I felt safe. What they usually meant by this was “I’ve watched the news and all those refugees are young men of military age – have they really come to rape and pillage!?”

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Drawing on Faith

I was 13 when the Nakba began. Afterwards, some of the Palestinian Christians we knew were relocated by boat to the border of Lebanon. The churches looked after those of us who were internally displaced.

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You Shall Not Pass: Christians in Jerusalem During Holy Week

“Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the
 Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the
 Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:3, NRSV

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