Prepping for Bethlehem, Summer 2017

J.R. Atkins at the Carter Center in AtlantaDuring the summer of 2017, I’ll have the privilege and opportunity to work in Bethlehem, Palestine thanks to funding from Candler School of Theology. Each year, Candler selects 12 -14 students to receive funding for an advanced contextual education experience between their 2nd and 3rd year of seminary called the Candler Advantage Program. When I heard about this, during orientation in 2014, I began to pray and plan for working in Bethlehem during the summer of 2017.

This Friday I leave Atlanta, flying first to New York, then to Tel Aviv and on Monday, I arrive in Bethlehem. Although plans have been made for me to work in churches and NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organisations), I am striving to stay open to what may occur once I arrive. My friends and mentors have coached me to “remain flexible.”

Since my initial trip in 2011, I have continued to build relationships with business connections, especially in technology, as well as churches. I hope to continue to meet new people and renew existing relationships. I am especially interested in how to stand in the middle of a diverse cultural context and continue to be friendly with opposing sides. My prayer is that I can be an instrument of peace and progress, to help reduce conflict and increase dialogue by focusing on commonality.

Over the next 10 weeks, I plan to share my experience on this blog platform, including pictures and video. I invite you to read, comment and share as you feel inclined. Let’s see where the conversation takes us.

Peace be with you,

J.R. Atkins

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – Atlanta, Georgia, USA




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