Editor’s note: This is the start of a series featuring two participants of the Mosaic of Peace trip to Israel/Palestine, a Presbyterian Peacemaking conference running April 28-May 10.
In her position as a presbytery executive, the Rev. Anita Hendrix gets a lot of alerts about events within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Hendrix, who is wrapping up her time as executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Riverside before moving to the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy to serve as presbytery leader, was intrigued.
“I have always wanted to go to Israel/Palestine,” she said. “This is just the perfect opportunity to go over there in a meaningful experience and see the cradle of my faith and walk where Jesus walked.”
Hendrix became interested in the region and its conflicted history while in high school and has been involved in related advocacy work since.
She spent 16 years as a pastor in Baltimore, where she was involved in an active Christian/Jewish dialogue about the issues. There, she learned more about the history of the conflict as well as some of the reasons behind some groups’ push for divestment from some companies operating in Israel. This trip will surely affect her view on divestment, a complicated issue about which she’s hoping for more depth of understanding.
“There’s hardly any more meaningful learning experience than actually going and seeing and learning among the folks there,” Hendrix said. “I wanted it to be a trip where I would hear and see both sides of the conflict over there.”
Participants will hear from Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders and experience contextual theology while learning more about the PC(USA)’s peacemaking policies and practices.
She’s grateful to be able to go into some depth about the issues. Although her schedule didn’t allow her to participate in many of the pre-trip learning and reflection groups offered by the event organizers, she hopes to gain information on the trip that she can bring home.
“It’s important for us to come back with some tools to advocate about Palestine/Israel,” Hendrix said.
Her daughter, a young adult, is also going on the trip.
“To have her go too, and us experience it together, will be wonderful,” Hendrix said.