This past summer a new collaboration, The Bethlehem Project, was born between Love Welcomes, Thistle Farms, and the Center for Contemplative Justice.
We commissioned three hundred chalices and patens from potters living in Bethlehem in Israel.
Out of the blue, I got a call last month. The order was complete and being shipped to Nashville!
I almost said Wait. We hadn’t seen a prototype and we had nowhere to store the boxes to be shipped.
Instead, I responded with Great, and Abi Hewitt, Maeve McConnville, and Dorian Hanna paid the invoices, and arranged the shipping.
Made by four women refugees, these artistic pieces are used to hold the wine and bread at the altar in sacred services. Our goal was to have these ready to sell for the Christian season of Lent, in Spring 2024.
Four days before the Hamas attack on October 7, we received half of the beautiful vessels intended to break bread and celebrate the feast of love this coming year. For now the women are safe. As the war continues, we will wait with hope to see if the final pieces can be shipped.
We now consider these sacred relics made by holy hands, not knowing if any more will be coming.Life for the women potters, and all of us, is forever changed and we hold onto these relics for strength and hope and to feel the unwavering doggedness of love.
We will discern over the coming weeks how best to share these pieces with the wider world. We want them to benefit women seeking shelter from the storms of poverty, violence, human trafficking, and oppression.
May Love be all our guide in the coming months.