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Young pilgrims on a spiritual journey in the Holy Land

Posted on: June 16, 2017 4:00 PM
Photo Credit: Ben Gray/ELCJHL
Related Categories: Europe and Middle East

[WCC] The World Council of Churches led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for eight young Christians earlier this month. Participants said it was a unique experience to discover biblical and spiritual places. The pilgrims came from Canada, Finland, French Polynesia, Jamaica, Kenya, South Korea and Palestine.

The WCC Youth Pilgrimage for Justice and Peace started on 3 June with a visit to Bethlehem and the Nativity Church. The group then went to Jerusalem and spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane before walking the Via Dolorosa. At the end of the 14 Stations of the Cross, they finished the day at the Holy Sepulchre.

On the following day, they went to the Jordan River and visited several sites around the Sea of Galilee. On 5 June, the group participated in the WCC global prayer for peace in the Holy Land at the Dormition Abbey of Jerusalem by reading prayers in their languages. After the service, they met with people from different congregations of the town before enjoying some free time in the Old City.

Revd Dr Andrew Williams, WCC worship consultant, was leading the pilgrimage: “This journey was not only about seeing historical stones, but also meeting with living stones through the local heads of churches”.

The young pilgrims also took the opportunity to meet WCC general secretary Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and with ecumenical accompaniers from the Ecumenical Accompaniment  Programme in Palestine and Israel.

“I enjoyed my stay in the Holy Land and my visit to every historic site. I realised how possible it is for the world to live in peace. Despite many things that come to destroy the peace we have, there is always a possible solution to it only if we are willing. All the conflicts that we have in the world, there is a solution for each” said Samuel Wairimu from Kenya.

“It was wonderful to watch people having their first eye-opening experience in this region and being confronted to the reality of lives there” concluded Revd Williams. “It was good to see the Holy Land through their eyes”.