I have told you before about the April 2012 Jewish-Christian study trip to Israel I'll be helping to lead. In fact, I wrote about it here and have created a separate page about it that you can find under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page.
But the time is getting short for you to decide to go with us. So I wanted to remind you about the trip again today and urge you to get signed up soon.
The tour company we are using will be able to hold airline seats in a block at the current price only through Jan. 9, we are told.
Another reason to sign up soon is that my two co-leaders (Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn and Father Gar Demo) and I are planning a pre-trip orientation at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22, at Gar's church, St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Overland Park, Kan.
Among other things, we'll be recommending some reading material to prepare for the trip, including scripture passages that will relate directly to places we plan to visit while in the Holy Land.
So make a New Year's resolution that you'll do something to expand your mind and spirit this year and join us for what promises to be a great trip to Israel April 15-25, with an optional three-day extension to Jordan.
* * *
THE WESTPORT PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER
My wife and I, with another couple, had just arrived at the home of mutual friends Thursday evening when we saw on their TV a report about the fire that destroyed Westport Presbyterian Church in Midtown Kansas City. It broke my heart. My friend Scott Myers, the pastor there, has done a remarkable job reinventing Westport to be not just a worship center for a small congregation but also a community center -- home to many organizations and activities over the years. Now this 176-year-old church is in ruins. My own Presbyterian congregation has reached out to Scott and to the Westport congregation to offer space or any other help they need, but it will take awhile for Westport to figure out its future. The loss of Westport Presbyterian's building is a reminder of several things. For one, a church is not a building but, rather, the people who make up the congregation. Second, any historic church such as Westport adds to the richness of the social fabric in countless ways, and Kansas City today is spiritually impoverished by its loss. I'm praying that the congregation will find a way to go on and continue to be a force for good in the city.