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FUMC pastor joins 140 other clergy members on journey to Holy Land

Members of First United Methodist Church and Reverend Angie Long recently traveled to the Holy Land.

Organized by the Alabama-West Florida Conference, the trip was hosted by Bishop David Graves, head of the Conference.

“The Bishop does a trip where he takes newly ordained clergy. I was ordained in 2015, this was the first trip offered,” Long said.

Joining 140 other clergy, the group spent seven full days exploring the land from Galilee to Bethlehem.

Staying in Tiberias for the first part of the trip, Long emphasized the beauty and simplicity of the landscape.

“We started in Tiberias, the area there is much more like what Jesus would have experienced,” said Long.

On the first of many excursions, Long described her experience on the boat in the Sea of Galilee.

“The first day we got on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It was storming when we got on the boat. We sang, the bishop spoke, and the storm stopped while we were there,” said Long.

From Galilee, the conference members split off into four smaller groups, spending the rest of the time touring on buses led by Israeli tour-guides.

Galilee quickly became one of Long’s favorite parts of the trip.

“Galilee was wonderful. There was a sense of peace there.”

Leaving little time between seeing the sights, the trip was very fast-paced.

The cold, damp climate in the area called for warm clothes, and the trip itself required walking shoes, seeing the group traveled many places by foot.

All of it was worth the jet lag as Long described the trip as, “a really neat experience.”

Long added, “We were in places where Abraham stood. I will continue to process it and many things that will strike me as I remember the trip.”

Perhaps one of her favorite moments was spent atop Mount Precipice, a place where an angry mob attempted to drive Jesus off the mountain.

She explained, “We went to this place called Mount Precipice, the place in scripture where Jesus was preaching and they wanted to throw him off the mountain. […] I remember our guide said, ‘All of scripture is here, the whole bible is before you.’ That was a significant moment for me.”

The entire experience made a lasting impression on Long. She said, “I would like to return if people from the church or the community wanted to go. I’m sure every time it will be different, just like when reading scripture.”