The first day I came here, I found the sign of Presbyterian Church in front of the house where I am staying. But my hosting family told me that they have not seen them worship on Sundays.
My hosting family told me that they heard of bigger Presbyterian church in Bethlehem, not do not know the exact location. As a favour to me, the father of the family called his neighbour this morning who is in the Beit Sahour Presbyterian Church (the official name is Shepherds’ Field Presbyterian Church), and asked the location. It was on the Hebron street, and he gave me ride there.
The church was on the down-side of the road (everywhere here is hill). So the ground floor from my side (west) is underground level 1 from the other side (east).
Common Room in the church with ping-pong table
When you go in, you get to the back of the sanctuary. And on the right, there is a door to the common room for after service refreshments. There is a ping-pong table for the youth activities.
Simultaneous Translator Receiver
From the common room, you can enter the tech room where they control the overhead projector and computer, sound mixer and everything. Even they have simultaneous translator equipment. Today, a guy was translating in the tech room only for me.
Christmas Year Round
In Bethlehem, it is Christmas year round.
Children’s Story Time
The service was much like ours in Canada or America (I mean PCC or PCUSA). And there were about or little more than fifty people including children. There was a Children’s story time, and then they went for Sunday School. Though the service was much like ours, the demographic was quite different. They are mostly young parents, probably around 20s and 30s. I think that is good sign because even here, the church goers are mostly seniors for Greek Orthodox. And the service was about hour and half (thank God it is not three hours like Greek Orthodox).
Back to School Gift
All the children were given a gift package at the Sunday school because the school begins tomorrow.
Playground at Church
I know the churches in North America usually have yards and some rich Churches (like my church which is Knox Presbyterian Church in Naperville) have even its own playground. That is not true for churches in Korea. I also haven’t seen any playground at Greek Orthodox Churches. But this Presbyterian church has its own small playground. I love it!
And it is kind of law in Palestine and Israel that where there is yard, there are olive trees.
I found that the Presbyterian church in Beit Sahour comes here to join the Sunday service because they do not have a lot of people, and it is the daughter church of Baraka Bethlehem Presbyterian Church. They also have a day-care and education centre in Beit Sahour. So instead of walking back hour and twenty minutes, I got a ride back home. And thank God that the Beit Sahour Presbyterian church is literally right next door!
In the refreshments, people asked me a few questions such as if I am alone. I guess they meant if I am single because they also told me that they have good Christian girls. So I told them “Ana mit-jawiz,” which means I am married. Another lady asked me how long I’ve been here. I asked her back, “in Palestine?” Then she said, “Thank you for saying Palestine.” To give you an advice who wants to travel West Bank later, it is not safe to call there “Israel,” and they do not really like to be called “West Bank” either. They are happy when they hear “Palestine.”
Who remembers this?
They sell some souvenirs in the church along with some Christian music. Some of them are in cassette tape. I cannot really remember when was the last time that I listened to the cassette tape. And I don’t have a cassette tape player, so I could not buy this one even though it was cheaper. But does not the sales mean people actually listens to it?
Arabic Gospel CD
Instead of the cassette tape, I bought a gospel music CD in Arabic. I can borrow this CD if you are my neighbour and you want it. The church was selling it for 30 shekels. And I found later that it is cheaper if you buy it at Amazon. But that is OK, it is just 5 shekels (which is about $2), and I may think I helped the church.
It is not related to today’s topic, but: the father of this hosting family installed an alarm app from the Israeli government that warns the location and sounds the siren when the missile launch was detected from Gaza so that people can run to the shelter. And it sounds the siren twice every minute, literally. But the location is mostly southern Israel, so we don’t have to run. Well, actually we don’t have a shelter to run in Beit Sahour or any Palestinian area in West Bank.