Jerusalem is my hometown. In 1981, the Israeli government invited my dad, a Pentecostal pastor, to plant a church in Jerusalem. This was unprecedented. Until I was 12, I grew up skateboarding the streets of Jerusalem, adventuring through old army bunkers, and scaling abandoned water towers with the
30 feet of rope my dad gave me as a gift.
I can’t say that there wasn’t anything difficult about growing up in Israel. I was the only “blondini” Gentile in my Hebrew public school class, but I hardly noticed. Through the public school system, I was steeped in the Jewish culture, liturgi-
cal calendar, and language (including the bad words that my parents didn’t know about!).
Of course, violence has always been part of the backdrop. At school, we would have regular air raid drills and would rush down to the basement to hide in the school’s bomb shelters. I once got off a city bus that later blew up a few stops down the line. These things are tough. Still, my parents had me continue to travel by bus because we wouldn’t be bound by fear. This is the Israeli way.
Fresh out of college in 2000, Erica, my wife – who introduced me to Anglicanism, and I felt called to serve a little Anglican church in Toronto as youth pastor for four years. Erica’s family was deeply involved in the Anglican realignment in Canada
in the early 2000s. At that time, I felt strongly called to this Anglican movement, and yet I was confused because we were already moving back to Israel to minister with the Pentecostals. Never did I imagine that my Anglican calling and my calling to Israel would unite, but in God’s perfect timing, that’s ex- actly what happened. In 2008, I was ordained in the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) and served my curacy at Christ Church Jerusalem. In 2010, we returned to Canada and began church planting with ANiC. And now, after more than 7 years away, I can hardly believe the time has come for me to return to Jerusalem to pioneer an ANiC and the Anglican Church in North America work in Israel.
I have grown to love the Anglican Way. Erica and I realize that our respective heritages have blessed each other and our min- istries. Holy Spirit-filled entrepreneurial evangelism, meets a deep love of the Word, an anchoring liturgical calendar, and a sacramental life. These approaches
to Christianity have deepened our knowing Jesus in a big way. An- glicanism has also made my faith, surprisingly, feel more Jewish, and thus feels like home to me.
In 2016, during a three-month sabbatical, I produced the pilot season of the Israel Video Project: “This is Israel.” The second season I have called “The Road to Jerusalem” because of my own journey back to Jerusalem, but also because it coincides with the Global Anglican Future Conference’s 10-year an- niversary as we are also on the road to Jerusalem together as a Communion. Gafcon is pioneering a way forward for a global Anglican realignment. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the strong leadership of our Archbishops, and how much I am praying for them.
The road to Jerusalem, for Jews and Christians alike, has always been a journey of prayer and a journey of repentance.
As I am at a pivotal point in my own life, praying and repenting with my family as we go to Jerusalem, I am using the Israel Video Project to document this journey. I invite my fellow brothers and sisters in North America, and beyond, to pray with me through this video series as we approach such an important meeting for the future of Anglicanism.
As our Communion has been shaken, and as orthodoxy is be- ing forgotten across denominations, the absolute best thing we can do as a Church is return to the basics of the faith, to the very heart: to Jesus, to Jerusalem, and to the cross.
It was in Jerusalem that our sins were first forgiven. It was in Jerusalem where we were first filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. And, it was to Jerusalem first, where we were called to share this life-changing Gospel. I love that sharing this glorious Gospel is what defines us as a movement. And, what better place to return to than Jerusalem, to remember the basics and to remember Jesus.