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GILL'S FIRST LETTER FROM JERUSALEM- 16.01.14
My Dear Friends,
Just a short note from The Land: first to say a big ‘Thank
you' for all the support and encouragement I have received on this journey - even to the point of text messages right
up to 9 o'clock on Monday morning. I am writing this on Thursday evening in the hope you will be able to read it at the
I spent Tuesday visiting
the Old City again as well as getting my bearings on the area I am staying in and its location in relation to Bat Kol.
All is good, my accommodation is fine,
the office in St Charles Hospice (familiar to me as it's where I stayed in July) is well equipped, a good sized room and
very quiet. Because it is an adapted guest room, it comes with an ensuite!
The weather is lovely - blue sky and sunshine, and much warmer than usual for the time of year. I'm
finding my way around buses, supermarkets, etc. so it shouldn't be long before hopefully I feel like a Jerusalemite!
Tomorrow is eve of Sabbath and I've been invited to a women's study group at Kol HaNeshamah Progressive Reform
Synagogue in the morning, and then to the evening service followed by a Shabbat supper. Everything, other than worship, then
stops in order to spend time with God as He spends time with us as we ‘remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy'
If you are interested
in an almost daily bulletin plus some photos then my Blog is at gillianputnam.blogspot.co.uk
With love and blessings,
So far 2013 has been amazing
in ways I never expected - a time of discovery and self discovery, enabling me to do what seemed impossible but doing it with
you on my heart: God called, we responded!
was not prepared for how the experience affected me. My persistent prayer for a long time has been for peace in the Holy Land.
How strange then that the most precious gift I found in Jerusalem was peace, prayerfulness, spirituality, Yes, there are soldiers
with guns on the streets but for me the air was filled with the essence of God.
It was about praying alongside Jews at the Western Wall and in synagogues, sharing the liturgy to welcome Shabbat, the opening of the synagogue doors to welcome the Sabbath bride, delighting in celebrating
a day of rest with Yahweh as He spends the day of rest with us thus living the words ‘I am my Beloved's and my Beloved
is mine.' It was about the Sabbath morning service, seeing the scroll held with such love, respect and jubilation as it
is carried round the synagogue prior to the chanting of the portion for the day: Rabbi and congregation rejoicing in their
worship; liturgy filled with wonder at relationship with Yahweh - and it wasn't just for Jews, there are Christians who
choose to worship at the synagogues. There is a passion for the Torah and the Prophets, the sacred scripture contained in
the scrolls, as well as a passionate relationship between God and His chosen people.
Alongside, Muslims worship at the Temple Mount, and in many other mosques, praying
five times a day, keeping Ramadan, without food or drink from dawn to dusk in extreme temperatures, whilst still working diligently.
Then the Christians
with shrines, holy sites, churches, and religious communities, all mixed in among the synagogues and mosques, praying, caring,
living faiths, one God. Jerusalem is a city filled with prayer, prayer and more prayer, a place on fire with the
Shekina, soaked with the presence of God, a land where many seek and find the Divine presence. Surely without doubt this is
THE HOLY LAND. Despite the politics, Israel is a place of God's peace. I did not expect what
I found. ..........
thanks to God and all of you for the adventure we have shared so far. Let's wait patiently for what God has planned for
With love and blessings,
The Road to Jerusalem
I'm finally on my way, but without your support this would not have happened. Thank you so much for all your prayers
your donations, and your encouragement. I take each one of you with me in my heart and my prayers.
Jeremy has set up a blog for me The address is
and I have put on the programme we shall be
following.I will do my best to put as much information on as the work schedule in Jerusalem permits time wise.
Looking forward to seeing you all in August,
until then your continued prayer support will be much appreciated.
With love and blessings,
4th July 2013
'My thanks for all the support
which has been given, it has been overwhelming and much appreciated. I look forward not just to the study but also
to the spiritual treasures I will bring back for us all. Love and blessings from Gill.'
It must be something like 20 years since I first hoped to visit the Holy Land;
Peter and I booked on three different occasions and each time the trips were cancelled – two through conflict
there and the third because of my mobility at the time. But the longing
to visit stayed with me.
In 2010 a course was being held at Ammerdown, near Radstock. The title somehow drew me –
‘The changing faces of Jesus – exploring the Jewishness of Jesus’. The leader of
the course was a Roman Catholic Sister of Sion, Professor Maureena Fritz who was visiting the UK from Jerusalem to lecture
for one week at Ammerdown. This whole combination drew me, and without realising it,
I was off again on the road to Jerusalem. The course led me into a new style of study.
The next year Maureena was back again for ‘’Life is the Living Scripture’ and
then in 2012 for ‘You are God’s word incarnate’. So for three
year’s I have followed this strand of study, reading the New Testament in the light of our Jewish
roots, exploring the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, and finding new insights and revelation in doing
The Bat Kol Institute was founded by Maureena and a colleague in 1983, first in Toronto
and later, in 1992 it moved to Jerusalem. Bat Kol, meaning ‘Daughter of
a Voice’ exists for Christians to study the Bible within its Jewish roots, using Jewish sources.
The Institute was born out of the Second Vatican Council and Nostra Aetate which states that God’s
covenant with the Jewish people has never been revoked, Jesus was, and always remained, a Jew, and therefore Judaism and Christianity
are ‘linked together at the very level of their identity’.
Every July, Bat Kol hold an intensive course drawing students from worldwide to study in Jerusalem.
I have applied and been accepted to attend this year’s course which is on ‘Holiness and Wilderness in Leviticus
and the Prophetic Readings’. This is a huge opportunity to study and to experience the Holy Land,
and although it comes with a cost, I believe it will also bring great rewards. The cost is not just financial,
it is also about stepping out on a new journey, one which I am sure God is calling me to, and one which I am prepared
to make with ‘uncertain certainty’, knowing God is in it with me. The rewards will be in the
knowledge and experience I find, and in the new treasures and insights which I will
bring back to you all.
would be grateful for your prayer support on several levels:
as I seek the funding to attend the course (without it I can’t attend);
I prepare by learning Hebrew and doing the extensive prior reading;
as I make the journey in July.
On a practical
note, please look out for news of an event being planned to contribute to the funding and do your best to support the event.
If you can suggest any sources of funding, hold an event yourself, or make any
sort of donation to the fund, I should be immensely grateful.
With love and blessings,
BatKol Booklet 2013
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