Jerusalem Ministry Formation Program: Amazing Grace

January has come and gone, but we at the college are still celebrating the Ministry Formation program that brought students and staff  from Canada, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, New Zealand, Tanzania, the U.K.  and America; a gathering of God’s people that gave us rich conversation, deep reflective time, and a sharing of each other’s contextual  challenges, hopes, and visions for a better world.  Within the community of St. George’s college and  the cathedral, the divinity students, teachers of theology, and priests journeyed to the Galilee, Caesarea Philippi,  and spent nights in Jesus’ hometown of  Nazareth.  All the while, the formation groups meet daily for “unpacking” together the day’s holy journey and focusing on the overall theme of the program ” Empire” – both the personal sense of empire and the new understandings of empire here in the Holy Land.

Yet, beyond the truths shared in faith conversations, the warmest memories for me were the unexpected – tears shed after listening to Claire sing ” Amazing Grace” in the outside byzantine chapel atop Masada and watching the clip of Bishop Dhilo’s contagious laughter along with Andrew during their evening group formation.  Do we read of Jesus laughing with his disciples? Does the Psalmist write of Prophets in merriment?  I think not.  But, these past weeks of January, I know with utmost certainty that God’s laughter was in us as we are in him. As one student reflected, ” My life has been changed by this experience and my ministry impacted forever.”  It was a blessed program wrapped in God’s amazing Grace. I thank you.

And what lies ahead for February? Many blessings.

  • St. George’s College will be at the CEEP conference in Washington DC and please stop by our table to receive your coaster tile, the latest brochure, and more news about upcoming programs.
  • Our new promotion  will be announced digitally February 1.  If you are an alum of the college and bring with you 5 pilgrims- your course fee is $0.00.  This promotion is good for the next 18 months.
  • The Rev. Dr. Hector Patmore has arrived with his wife Lydia and son, Bertie.  The St. George’s Cathedral Close now has 7  children under the age of 12 and that officially fills our fellowship with the joy and wonder that only children can bring.

I close with the voice of a recent St. George’s College pilgrim.

” I felt I really belonged here even on the first day experiencing morning Eucharist together.”

Thanks be to God for the blessings pilgrims bring to St. George’s College in January and always.

You are in our daily prayers from this holy place- the city of hope, peace and light- filled with God’s amazing Grace.



The Rev. Dr. Susan Ackley Lukens, 

Associate Dean of St. George’s College Jerusalem