Preparing for the Journey to the Holy Land

As a child, did you ever play “I packed my trunk?” Around the circle, each child names an item to be added to the trunk, while trying to remember all that has been said before.

Some women in the diocese are thinking about what they want to bring on their partnership visit to our companion diocese of Jerusalem, November 14–27.

The women’s pilgrimage “A Journey to the Holy Land — Witnessing Together” is under the direction of Catherine Chapman (wife of the Rt. Rev. John Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa) and Shafeeqa Dawani (wife of the Rt. Rev. Suheil Dawani, Bishop of Jerusalem.)

Twenty-five women will accompany them, to build relationships with women of the diocese of Jerusalem, to learn more about their lives, and to deepen our partnership with our fellow Anglicans in this part of the Anglican Communion.

In preparation, two day-long retreats have been held to build community among participants, to learn about the diocese of Jerusalem and places and programs we will visit, to reflect on what pilgrimage might mean, to share ideas and resources, and — yes — to figure out what might go in those suitcases!

We have found many resources to help us prepare. Four of us participated in a two-day leadership training event put on by the Canadian Churches’ Forum for Global Ministries.

The event gave helpful guidance in how to prepare for partnership visits, and follow up on our return. We hope the insights gained will be useful to other Ottawa groups preparing for partnership visits to Jerusalem and elsewhere. We benefit from the experience of those who have already visited the Diocese of Jerusalem and other parts of the Middle East, and we have found rich resources in books and DVDs available through public libraries and other collections.

You can learn more about our partnership with the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem on the Diocese of Ottawa website and on the website of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

The Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem is a national voluntary body of members of the Anglican Church of Canada, drawn together in common concern and support for the well-being of the Church in the land of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. More information about joining this group can be found on the website of the national church

Written by: Patricia Bays
Originally published: Crosstalk, June 2015