Church Records and Minutes; 1955-1984

How time and dis tan ce are shor tene d in the 20th Ce ntu ry! It seems such a lon g way from Bu ffa lo to Bethlehem, ye t liv ing in our city on La ur el St. is a man, Sa bri An tone ; his wife, Ma ry, bo rn in Be thlehem, and th ei r three ch ild ren who a few ye ars ago we re living only a sto ne ’s throw from th is hills ide in Be thlehem. IT WAS TH IS MAN who said to me as we dro ve int o Be thlehem at nigh tfa ll, “S ing !” As we sang th at nigh t we saw she pherd s in the dusk of eve nin g guiding th ei r flo cks over the hil ls near Be thlehem . Lat er th at nig ht we he ard shots alo ng the bo rd er, shots of ski rmish es th at go on ev ery wee k in the hil ls outside of ancie nt Be thlehem. WE L IV E in a wo rld of skirm ish and suspic ion . Ou r Lo rd Je su s Ch ris t was bo rn int o such a wo rld . Ou rs is no t the job of cr ea tin g di­ ve rsion in the mi ds t of agony. Ou rs is the more di ffic ul t task of singin g a son g of good wil l in a wo rld sa tu ra te d with suspicion. No one goe s to visit the impressiv e bu ria l gro und of He rod, bu t pil grims con­ stan tly go to pay trib ut e to the pla ce wh ere Je su s was bor n. So the n in the se days when me n’s eyes are so eas ­ ily turn ed to the nig ht sky in fea r, le t us, rem emberin g the bi rt h of the Great Ph y­ sician, give glo ry to God and sing the son gs of peace fo r the wound ed and weary th at the y may be dedic ate d and h o p e f u l in tod ay ’s world. May God ric hly ble ss you and gr an t pea ce to your sou l at Ch ris tmastim e in 1957.

(Smttn ga at (ftb ris tmas ! / r r r m r r r r r r r i r L ET ME tell you of a day I spent in Be thlehem sh or t walk from the Cit y of Be thlehem in Jo rd an to the tomb of Rache l. On the ea ste rn side of the road th er e rise s a hil lsi de of oliv e tree s and at the top of the hil l there sta nd s an old sto ne wa tch tow er. Fr om th is hillside, lan d­ ma rks can be see n which sweep the da tes of histor y int o a pile of sta rd us t. Of f to the Eas t ro ll the ba rre n, folia ge -le ss hil ls of Jude a, slopin g ev er dow nward to the low est spot on the ea rt h’s surfa ce, the Dea d Sea. You can see a slice of the blu e sea from th is vanta ge point. Th ere at the no rth­ er n tip is mo dern Je ric ho and, a few miles away, the Quman cav es wh ere the Dea d Sea Scrolls were found. Tu rn ing now in a cir cle to the ri gh t there can be see n ’way of f to the sou th the mound known as He ro - dius , like an ex tin ct vo l­ cano , rememb ere d as the bu ria l g r o u n d of Kin g He rod. Tur ni ng fu rthe r to the rig ht , the eye swe eps by the br ig ht sto ne house s and or ­ chards of Be thlehem to the hills of mo de rn Is rael. To the no rth , onl y 6 miles awa y, it is pos sib le to disti ng uis h tow ers on the Mount of Oli ves and an ­ cien t sacred pla ces includ ­ ing the Chu rch of the Ho ly Sepulch re and the Dome of the Rock in the Holy City of Je rusa lem. HERE on the qu iet hil ls of Be thlehem are reminde rs of the day s of the Old Tes t- me nt and the New , as well as viv id reminde rs of rece nt conf lic ts betwee n na tio ns in the Middl e Eas t of 1957.

bac k in 1953. It is only a

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President, Council of Churches Buffalo and Erie County

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