A country the size of Maine has welcomed more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world: 1.4 million since March 2011, when ISIS seized power and began its reign of terror. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the Middle East has shown hospitality to strangers for thousands of years. I was fortunate to receive the gift of this unconditional welcome and hospitality in October 2016. I had never visited a predominantly Muslim country. I returned home with an expansive view of Arabs—who they are, their rich and varied past, their warm, hospitable and honorable culture. My stereotypes about people of Arab descent were put to shame and to bed. I saw such stunning relics from past civilizations, so well-preserved and cared for—I feel indebted to the generations of Arabs who have protected these marvelous antiquities so my soul could connect with artisans from 10,000 years ago. I am deeply grateful for their care of these holy sites. When visiting them in person, one’s whole being—body, mind, and soul—is anchored in one’s faith. Tradition and stories come alive in ways one cannot experience from reading a text or hearing a presentation. If you want to see the Dead Sea; the site of Jesus’ baptism; the mountains where Moses, Deborah, Isaac, and Rebecca roamed; the tombs of Petra and the beauty of the Wadi Rum, visit Jordan. It will change your life!
As I write, 18 children and one teacher have been reported dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas after yet another school shooting. The anguish, trauma, and fear of students, parents, and teachers touched by this violence is unimaginable. Today’s shooting affects young children, who have the right to grow up safe and protected […]
This year, May 30th is our nation’s Memorial Day, it is observed on the last Monday of May, and it honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Going back to the Civil War, where nearly 500,000 people died, women in the South tended the graves of fallen soldiers, not […]
This past Sunday, the EDSD Youth Leadership Council gathered at St. Thomas of Canterbury in Temecula. After worship that morning, the council spent time reflecting on their work this year and talking about goals for next year’s council. Elizabeth Sipra, a member of this year’s YLC from St. Thomas, said, “I think that Youth Leadership […]