Bishop Rachel shares her sabbatical experiences

Published: Monday July 22, 2019

I am just coming to the end of two weeks in Tiberias on the shore of Lake Galilee. It has been a special time of rest, prayer and reflection, particularly focusing on Christ’s encounters in the Gospels.

I have deliberately chosen not to visit lots of places as this has primarily been a time of quiet, however, we have had a few days which have included some significant encounters in different places, including worshipping yesterday with Christians in Shefa’Amr.

Last week we took the opportunity to visit Sindyanna a unique non-profit organization led by a team of Arab and Jewish women working to create social change from the ground up. They produce olive oil and other food products, as well as weave baskets. In all of this they are “enhancing Arab-Jewish cooperation, promoting Fair Trade, creating economic opportunities for Arab women, and assisting local growers and producers.” Interestingly, they provide the olive oil which LUSH use in their products.

Sindyanna resonated with other projects I have seen this year in both Egypt and Bosnia, in which women are being enabled to flourish and bridges are being built across divides, and I particularly love the fact that the transforming work of Sindyanna is based in Kanna (Cana) where Jesus turned water into wine.

Today, on the feast of Saint Mary of Magdalene and the 4th anniversary of my consecration, Guy and I visited Magdala. I found the archaeological excavations and the new church surprisingly poignant, and it was good to be alone in the Mary Magdalene Chapel where I repeated the declarations I made at my consecration and continued to pray for the Diocese of Gloucester.

This time of sabbatical continues to be a great gift and I continue to keep you in my prayers with thanksgiving.

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