THE LIVING STONES
A "Living Stones" Pilgrimage combines visits to the traditional Holy Land religious sites (the so called "Ancient Stones") with opportunities to touch the pulsing Christian community – whom we call the ‘living stones.' Each pilgrimage, connects with local Christians in some way. This may be for a time of worship in their churches, visits with children enrolled in Christian Schools, or even breaking bread together for a meal in their homes or churches.
Generation after generation, residents of the Holy Land are the ones who are keeping the Christian faith alive in the land where our Savior was born. Visits by pilgrim groups are encouraging and invigorating, offering support to carry-on in the face of much adversity.
What is a Living Stones Pilgrimage?
"Our group of 22 pilgrims, with our guide Iyad Qumri, drove past villages and farms. . .
all the way to Zababdeh.
There we worshiped with the lively community
at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church,
toured their community (health) clinic and
ate lunch prepared . . in the homes of the congregation."
The Rev. Canon Mark E. Stanger
Grace Episcopal Cathedral
San Francisco, California
The "living stones" are the Arab Palestinian Christians who continue to live and practice their Christian faith in the Holy Land. Their ancestors may have been present at the First Pentecost or perhaps were friends or relatives of the first Disciples. Through centuries of adversity these strong families have remained in the Holy Land, raising their children and living where Jesus lived, walked and breathed. They are not converts from Islam; they are biologically more closely connected to the early Christian church than any other culture in the world.
Today these "living stones" still live, worship and work geographically where the early Christians did. They have a sense of Biblical heritage that is framed by their love and commitment to the Holy Land. Following Jesus' example they continue to teach and follow His words about forgiveness, love, reconciliation and peace. Their faith has earned them the name, "the bridge builders to peace."
Who are the "Living Stones"?
“Here in this country, we say we do not live
in the Holy Land,
we live in the land of the Holy One
who makes us holy.
What matters most,
we are the living stones of the land. .
the people, who have carried on the faith.
We need your support and prayer.
We need you to wake up and to realize that
you have sisters and brothers
in this part of the world.
The making of peace is what is in our hearts."
Father Fuad Dagher,
RectorSt. Paul's Episcopal Church