Gather, the magazine of Women of the ELCA, offers a mix of articles, theological reflections, devotions and stories of comfort and challenge that help readers grow in faith and engage in ministry and action.
Physical places often shape our identities, relationships and faith. “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” Paul writes. Part of what this means is that faith doesn’t just reside in our thoughts or emotions. Faith resides in our whole bodies, and how our bodies “live and move and have our being” in the sacred places where God encounters us. In this Fall 2023 Gather Bible study, written by an ELCA missionary living in Jerusalem, we’ll explore what holy places mean, not only for the Holy Land of the Bible, but for each of us, wherever we may be.
Download session three here.
By Emily Wiles— WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I was a champion seeker in the game of hide and seek. I had an uncanny ability to uncover even the most elusive hiding spots with precision. However, when it was my turn to hide, impatience would get the better of me. I would often aid the seeker in finding me through my squirms and giggles…
By Claire Garcia— I HAD BEEN UNCHURCHED since my confirmation day in 1969. I’d drifted away from church (but not from faith), leaving Minnesota at age 20. I went into the Navy, and became a hospital corpsman stationed in Memphis, Tennessee.,…
BY THE TIME THE MIDDLE of September hits, the college campus where I work settles into a rhythm of sorts. We’ve made it through the orientations, the adding and dropping of classes, the meeting of roommates. The new notebooks have creases, the laptop covers have their first scratches, and that tightly planned schedule has started to loosen a bit. September’s sun is at its best in a New England late summer….
“We have felt the power of your prayer” Gather Bible study leader continues work in Jerusalem
Following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel and the Israeli siege of Gaza, many Gather readers contacted Women of the ELCA churchwide staff to ask about the safety of Gather Bible study author the Rev. Dr. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni and her family. Many of the inquiries came after the ELCA’s difficult decision to evacuate the ELCA Young Adult in Global Mission (YAGM) volunteers serving in the West Bank and country coordinators ELCA pastors Adam and Jordan Miller-Stubbendick, with their young children.
Johnston Aelabouni reported: “We are safe in Jerusalem and continue our work [accompanying the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) and other partners], which is now more important than ever.” Johnston Aelabouni serves as ELCA Theologian in Residence for the Middle East and North Africa desk. She and her spouse, the Rev. Gabi Aelabouni, Area Desk Director for the Middle East and North Africa, have three children.
“Participants in Women of the ELCA grow fond of authors they read, and so it’s no surprise that many have contacted the churchwide offices to ask about the wellbeing of the author of the current Bible study published in Gather, the Rev. Dr. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni, and her family,” said Linda Post Bushkofsky, executive director, Women of the ELCA.
“Even before the recent violence between Hamas and Israel, many participants have been praying for the Aelabouni family,” Post Bushkofsky said. “Now those prayers have expanded—both in number and breadth—prayers of peace and wellbeing for all who live in the Middle East, prayers of peace and justice throughout the world. In the words of our Purpose Statement, participants are actively promoting healing and wholeness in the church, the society and the world.”