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View from the Holy Land

By Ben Hovland '11
January 18, 2011

Rev. Mark Brown '78, regional director of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem, gives a tour to St. Olaf students participating in an Interim program in Israel. Photo by Ben Hovland '11.

St. Olaf students participating in the Interim program in Israel and the Palestinian territories received a tour of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem last week from Rev. Mark Brown '78, the organization’s regional director.

The students, led by Associate Professor of Religion Jim Hanson ‘83, are taking a course titled Historical Geography and the Bible in the Holy Land. It’s the first St. Olaf group to visit Israel in more than 11 years. In addition to touring the Lutheran World Federation compound that is located on the Mount of Olives, the group has toured an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, a Palestinian refugee camp, and many sites pertaining to Biblical history.

At the Lutheran World Federation compound, Brown led the group through the 46-acre property containing rows of olive trees and the historic Augusta Victoria Hospital (where the students posed for a photo on the spot where Winston Churchill and Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia stood 90 years prior). After answering questions about Lutheran World Federation initiatives and the Israel-Palestine conflict, Brown hosted dinner for the students in his house on the Mount of Olives.

Subsequent stops for the students included the Sea of Galilee and Nazareth.

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or