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History of the Jerusalem Partnership

Why Jerusalem?

In 2012, Rock Spring decided to become a Global Mission congregation with a particular focus on the Middle East. Getting to
that point involved several steps:

  • An outgrowth of the church-wide discernment process known as IMAGINE, as we sought to add an international element to our social justice ministry and to honor our status as a Just Peace congregation;
  • An interpretation of “mission” as a search for partnership where each partner might expect to grow together;
  • Beginning to seek out a specific situation of “critical presence”—a meaningful partnership at the point of deepest need.

The decision to focus on the Middle East, and then Palestine/Israel was complex, but two factors stand out. First, it meshed well with our emerging interfaith focus, specifically our relationship with muslim community. Second, it drew on established interests and expertise within the UCC.

As the relationship develops, we can hope that it will help us all to understand better the situation of a partner church in “the Holy Land"and to appreciate the struggles they go through as individuals. The team that visited in October 2013 has helped us understand better both the human dimension and complexities of this troubled corner of our world, as we consider what should be an appropriate response.

The Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem sustains itself through the harvesting of olives and the production of virgin olive oil. Olive oil, pressed from olives from the 800 trees on the grounds of August Victoria Hospital, is used in the kitchen of AVH and provides income to offset the hospital's operating costs. Grown by the Lutheran World Federation on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the olives from which this oil is made are produced without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Local workers and volunteers harvest the olives by hand each fall. Following the harvest, most of the fruit is pressed at an olive press in Beit Jala or Latrun.

Consider purchasing some of this high-quality oil through Rock Spring! All of the proceeds from the Olive Oil Project go to support the hospital. The Global Partnership Committee will provide opportunities to purchase the olive oil at various times throughout the year. Contact Laura Martin and put "Olive Oil" in the Subject line.

Read the Journey to Jerusalem Blog

See the Journey to Jerusalem Presentation from January 5, 2014

Related Sermons

Go to the Spot (January 2014), Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer
Faithful to Love (December 2013), Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer
Do Justice (November 2013), Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer 
Removing the Mask (October 2013), Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer
Step Back from the Baggage Claim (July 2013), Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer
The Reward of Welcome
(June 2011), Rev. Dr. Kathryn N. Dwyer 
Fish and Sheep (April 2013), Rev. Peter Makari



Laura Martin

Latest News

Back by popular demand, the Produce Bagging Program in Carpenter Hall will be up and running starting in May, on Monday afternoons. This program helps local gardeners get their produce to local food pantries.