Christ Church in Jerusalem
It is time to say a few words about this Church that is hosting us and helping us with this Sabbatical Journey. It is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East. It is actually built on top of what was King Herod’s Palace gardens. There are large cisterns and tunnels below us, one of which is thought to have been an emergency escape tunnel for Herod.
Christ Church was started in 1849 by a German born Messianic Jew named Michael Solomon Alexander. He was a true visionary who believed, one hundred years before it happened, that the Jews would return to their homeland. He was also a man of great compassion. When appointed as the first Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, He helped impoverished Jews, he began a hospital and an Anglican school. He founded this church on the vision that it would share the good news of the Messiah, Jesus, with the Jewish people and that has remained it’s primary mandate ever since.
What a busy place this is. As we sit in the courtyard, literally hundreds of people pass through. Many come to worship as three congregations share this church in English, Hebrew and Arabic. Many come from all over the world to see the Holy Land led by the talented guides of Shoresh Ministries, established to help Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith. When they arrive they are housed, like Holly and I, in the Guesthouse facilities which include 34 rooms.
Others come to see the historical ruins beneath the ground and are given a tour of this place and an opportunity to learn more about the Messiah. One day we saw no fewer than forty Muslim women come through the Heritage Center, then followed by a Israeli Jewish group.
There is a school which provides courses, often to poor African pastors. There is a growing library with some amazingly old and important archival material.
There is a vibrant and popular coffee shop and a dining room which offers delicious food cooked by a chef trained in French cuisine at Notre Dame.
They also offer sabbaticals to clergy. Praise God. So we are here, learning, growing stretching and exploring. We are very grateful to our beloved congregation for allowing us this opportunity, and to the minsters and staff of Christ Church for providing a place to settle and to grow.
Click the photos below to view them full-size…