Reports from John November 2003 to January 2004, during his time as an Ecumenical Accompanier for Ecumenical Accompanist Programme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) http://www.eappi.org/

Reflections on Three Months in Israel and Palestine

Wednesday, 28 January, 2004

All of us here at the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel as well as staff at the World Council of Churches were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of our friend and colleague, Canon John Aves, this past Sunday, January 25th. John was nearing the end of his three-month term here in the Holy Land, having spent most of the time working in the Deheisha Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. He was preparing to spend the last two weeks of his term at the Mar Saba Monastery outside Bethlehem.

Men with Dolls - Situation of Christians in the OPT and Israel

Tuesday, 30 December, 2003

You will be able to see a man carrying a doll on Tuesday afternoon, the 6th of January.  There is nothing particularly strange about that, as fathers do the same thing all over the world, buying the toys or even playing with them for the benefit of their children.  But the reason this father is carrying the doll is quite different than that of most other fathers in the world.  He is the Father Custos, the Chief Franciscan in the Holy Land.  The doll he will be carrying on the feast of the Epiphany represents the image of the baby Jesus.

At the Bottom of the Garden

Sunday, 14 December, 2003

There is something odd going at the bottom of my garden.  While other people may have gnomes and fairies or the odd compost heap, in my garden there’s a wall being built.  Nothing odd about that, you may think.  People need to mark boundaries to keep cats out and give the neighbours’ children something to climb over in order to fetch a ball.  But this wall is nothing like that.  It’s not your average 4 1/2-foot brick or chain link divider, with a top to lean on and chat to the next door neighbours as they cut the lawn.

On the Road To Bethlehem

Sunday, 14 December, 2003

"Where do you come from?" the question comes.  "Norwich in England," I say and for a moment there is a brief flicker of recognition in his eyes.  Perhaps he’s been there or has a relative in England but there is no time to talk; other cars in the line are pressing their urgency to get through.  The passport is handed back by the Israeli soldier who appears all of 18 years old.  We drive through the checkpoint after our normal ritual of approximately three quarters of an hour queuing.  That’s on a good day.

Working in the Silence

This book based on Maurice Hopper's Palestinian Field Journal from his time as an Ecumenical Accompanier in 2003-4 has recently been published. Price £10 all of this goes to the Educational Link with Dheisheh Refugee Camp Bethlehem in memory of Revd Canon Dr. John Aves of Norwich.
"... Maurice Hopper has not just been and observed: he has entered into the day-today mundane life of Palestine's most deprived inhabitants whose voice is rarely heard in the West. He deserves to be listened to."
— Jack Priestley