In March 2016, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ led a delegation of church leaders to the Middle East to meet ministry partners there. Disciples Mission Fund and Week of Compassion support these partners and many others in the land where Jesus and the apostles first walked and where their descendants still live today. The following is the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins' fourth reflection on the trip. The previous reflections, and other delegation members' reflections, are available here.Read more
by Susan Dewey, Pacific Southwest Co-Regional Minister, Week of Compassion Committee Member
For the first two weeks of March, I was in the Middle East with a Leadership Delegation made up of the General Minister and Presidents of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, Regional Ministers, Conference Ministers, as well as representatives of the United Church of Canada and the Congregational Church of Southern Africa.Read more
A 21-person delegation made up of leaders from the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) traveled to four Middle East countries as part of an ongoing expression of solidarity with Middle East Christians. The pilgrimage was the first trip to the region for the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC, and the Rev. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries. They were joined by the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Disciples of Christ. In addition, seven UCC conference ministers, six regional ministers from the Disciples of Christ, a representative from the United Church of Canada, and two representatives from the United Congregation of Churches in Southern Africa made the trip.
Peter Makari, area executive for Global Ministries' Middle East and Europe, led his largest delegation to the Middle East for two weeks, from Feb. 28 through March 11, to Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel-Palestine.
The pilgrimage came in the middle of the Middle East Initiative, which Global Ministries kicked off last summer, inviting the wider church to focus on the region for an 18-month period before concluding in December 2016. Through mission and partnership, churches can learn more about the dozens of denominational partners in the region and the issues they face, learn about how the UCC and Disciples of Christ continue to build on the long-lasting history of engagement, and become active in education and advocacy efforts for peace and support various programs.
Reflection from Richard Spleth, Regional Minister for the Indiana Region of the Disciples of Christ - In the Spirit
Photo Essay from the Orthodox Initiative - We are Present at the Border
Reflection from Susan Dewey, Pacific Southwest Co-Regional Minister, Week of Compassion Committee Member - Coloring the Desert
Sermon by Rev. Dr. Paxton Jones, Regional Minister for the Kansas Region of the Disciples of Christ - It's Not Them
Traci Blackmon delivering a keynote speech immediately following the trip at "Super Saturday" of the Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island Conferences, on March 12.
Rick Spleth recorded this video for DisciplesNet and it was streamed by them for their Sunday morning worship service on Sunday, April 3. The assignment was to create a sermon on the lectionary text for the week, John 20:19-31, and also to reflect on the trip.
We Are Present by the Orthodox Initiative, celebrated Mother's Day with the Syrian refugees at the Sabha and Subaiha camp, one of the settlements we work at, in Northern Badia/Jordan, at the Syrian border.Read more
With all that is going on in the Middle East where religion is used by many players to justify political, military and economic goals, we want to share a reflection inspired by the season of Lent.
Our Lent began with a meditation on the story of Jesus on the Mount of Temptation, after his baptism and at the outset of his ministry (Luke 4:1-13). Trying him, the devil pulls out a number of slick and deceptive acts from his bag of tricks. At the beginning, addressing Jesus’ hunger, he sounds quite logical – acknowledging Jesus’ power while putting him to the test. Rather than proving himself to the devil, Jesus answers him with his natural, incontestable, divine authority to which the Scripture is a witness. The devil then surprises us twice:Read more
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19
One warm and windy Friday afternoon, my Jordanian and American friends drove from Amman into the countryside for a picnic. The winter rains were finished, and it was time to settle into the sun.
The following photo essay was created by the Orthodox Initiative, highlighting the recent delegation of representatives from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, the United Church of Canada and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa that participated in their ministries along the Jordan/Syria border.Read more
I am in the midst of itineration; making may way around parts of the United States visiting communities to share my experience from Jordan and Palestine. I have been back in the country for a little over a month, and between Christmas celebrations, reunions, and reacquainting myself with the West, I have started to find time to understand what my time in the Middle East meant, and how to move on and forward to what comes next.Read more
In October 2015, a group of Disciples women participated in a Woman-to-Woman Worldwide pilgrimage, coordinated by Global Ministries, to Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel/Palestine. The women were especially moved by the ministries of two partner organizations, the Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees and the Orthodox Initiative. These ministries are being promoted while the delegates visit Disciples women around the United States and Canada interpreting their experiences during the coming period of study, prayer, reflection, and advocacy.Read more
During a visit to the Middle East this January, I had the chance to witness the work of our partners that Week of Compassion is supporting to respond to the humanitarian needs of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Due to the 5-year-old Syrian war and the increased instability in northern Iraq, with no end in sight, Syrians and Iraqis have fled to Jordan and elsewhere to find some semblance of peace.Read more