By The Revd Lisa Rodrigues
In July, a group of Sarum College students and graduates were among 30 participants from the UK and the USA on the Jerusalem Ministry Formation Course, offered by St George’s College, Jerusalem. The College is one of the best-kept secrets of the Anglican Communion, offering a range of study pilgrimage courses for all Christians, guided by a phenomenal biblical scholar.
During our 12-day pilgrimage though Jerusalem and Palestine, we studied the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth in the historical contexts and cultures of this sacred land. Site visits to places such as Capernaum, The Mount of Beatitudes, and Mount Tabor gave us the opportunity to integrate biblical understanding with a sense of place, through theological and spiritual reflection.
Favourites for me were visiting the Holy Sepulchre – the place of Jesus’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection; renewing my baptismal vows in the River Jordan (photo below, right); spending time in silent reflection in the searing heat of the Judean wilderness; drinking cool, fresh water from Jacob’s Well in Nablus, the home of the Samaritan Woman and being splashed with spray from the Sea of Galilee while praying aboard our boat as it quietly bobbed on the waves. The thundering, low fly-past of fighter jets above the boat was a reminder of contemporary issues of conflict affecting the Holy Land and the need for all Christians to pray that peace and justice will prevail.
We engaged with local Christian communities to gain insights into the missional and pastoral issues affecting them and shared lively worship at Sunday Eucharists. A visit to the Princess Basma Centre for Disabled Children shone light on the importance of institutional Christian ministry in this place.
Attending the course was a transformative experience, strengthened by friendships forged in our community of pilgrims. We have now returned to our home contexts with the hope that our encounters in the Holy Land will enrich our preaching, pastoral care and church leadership in the years to come.
With my thanks to the British Regional Committee of the St George’s College Jerusalem Trust for their support.
The Revd Lisa Rodrigues is Team Curate at The Clarendon Churches. She completed her ministry training on the Rural Pathway at Sarum College from 2019-2021 and was ordained priest in Salisbury Cathedral in July 2022. Originally from Canada, Lisa has been in the UK since 1998. She qualified as a lawyer in British Columbia, taught law in Hong Kong, raised her family and dabbled in writing before responding to the call to ministry.