The ABCUSA Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations will be sponsoring a peace-building tour April 15-26, 2015 (April 15 to 30, 2015, with Jordan extension), in partnership with the Church of the Brethren and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. This visit will introduce participants to the complex issues at play in this region that so desperately cry out for peace and to those who are actively working to build peace in the region.
In attendance on the tour will be A. Roy Medley, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, and Rev. June Totten, chair of the Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations.
The tour begins by participating in a two day peace conference in Nazareth, sponsored and hosted by the Association of Baptist Churches of Israel. The group will engage in discussions of issues and challenges for Christian peacemaking in our time. This will give participants a real feel for how Christians in Israel view the possibilities for peace.
Following the conference the group will spend 7 1/2 days in a journey of understanding led by the Telos Group (www.telosgroup.org). There is also an option of continuing into Jordan to visit refugee settlements and view significant historical sites such as the site of Jesus’ baptism and the Treasury at Petra. The Telos Group will work with intentionality of exposing us to the persons and issues that tell the story of life today in what we call the Holy Land. They include visits to sacred sites (or ancient stones) but emphasize the “living stones,” persons who embody the struggle for justice and peace today.
In describing the tour, Medley wrote:
Please do not hesitate to contact us to make your reservation or if you have any questions or need any additional information. Please contact the Rev. June Totten, chair of the Committee at email@example.com or call 909-373-6672 (she is in the Pacific time zone.) Payment for the land package is due no later than Friday, January 9, 2015, by check or wire transfer to Telos Group, 9103 Colt Lane, Annandale, VA 22003.
Airfare will be booked through Mennonite Travel Services. Contact Claudia Ford ASAP for information and reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-444-3004, ext. 19302, or her direct line 719-385-3302. Identify yourself as an American Baptist participant. Prices only rise, so booking immediately assures the best air fare price. Claudia checked some costs from sample cities for me and they were in the $900 – 1,200 range if booked then. She will work with each of us to find the best itinerary and price. She will need this information: departure city, travel dates, legal passport name, birthdate, your contact info and credit card number. If you have frequent flyer miles, check with Claudia as many international airlines partner with US airlines for flying credit. We recommend purchasing travel insurance with MTS when you book air travel.
Todd Deatherage of Telos, one of our guides, will provide an extensive reading list for us so that we can prepare ourselves for in-depth discussions with our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters. Another great resource by which to follow unfolding news about this part of the world is to sign online to receive weekly updates and special notices from the Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).
Blessings be yours as you consider this investment of time and resources and whether you are able to participate in this very special and unique opportunity.
I hope you can join June and me for this exceptional experience.
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA