Lutheran bishops head for Middle East

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Talk about timing.

In November, I got a press release about a trip of 39 bishops belonging to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - plus five bishops from their sister denomination in Canada, 27 spouses and 14 church staff - to the Holy Land from Jan. 6-13 to meet with Israel, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders, visit religious sites, etc. Several of us religion writers were asked if we’d like to go along but I declined, saying religious leaders travel every week to Israel and surrounding countries. Why would this be different?

That was then. Now these bishops are finding themselves flying into a tinderbox. Not surprisingly, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson has called for peace in the region. Don’t know if anyone is listening much, tho. The group will stay in Israel although a smaller group of bishops will be spending time in Jordan from Jan. 3-6.

The original intent of the trip was to craft a Lutheran Middle East strategy and to support already-existing Lutheran ministries in the area. The bishops have no intent of cancelling; now especially, Bishop Hanson said Thursday, their trip is “timelier than ever.”

 - Julia Duin, religion writer

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About the Author
Julia Duin

Julia Duin

Julia Duin is the Times' religion editor. She has a master's degree in religion from Trinity School for Ministry (an Episcopal seminary) and has covered the beat for three decades. Before coming to The Washington Times, she worked for five newspapers, including a stint as a religion writer for the Houston Chronicle and a year as city editor at the ...

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