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Scots Israel retreat

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2004-11-02

Tiberias Centre

Tiberias Centre

The Church of Scotland has opened a £10m spititual retreat and hotel in Israel in a bid to build up up its awareness and missionairy activity in the region.

The Tiberias Centre at St Andrews in Galilee was acquired by the church in 1884 for medical missionary work and since 1959 has been used as a guest house.

In 1999, a decision was taken to update the guest house and £10m was spent on making it modern.

Among the 35 diverse faith staff working at the hotel are Arab Christians, Muslims, Jews, Druze  and Scottish Presbyterians.

According to the Church which has 600,000 members in Scotland, The Tiberias Centre has, "welcomed pilgrims and other travellers to its Tiberias site for decades, and the aim of the redevelopment and upgrading of St Andrews, Galilee, is to allow the Church of Scotland to develop this role for decades to come."

Ken Ross, general secretary of the Board of World Mission said: "In making this commitment the Kirk was aware from the outset that it was taking on a very difficult task. A more divided, troubled and volatile area than Israel and Palestine could not easily be imagined. Had the Kirk simply been looking for a peaceful place to build a profitable hotel it might have opted for, say, Perthshire or Provence. But the aim and intention was always something quite different. It was about how to use the unique opportunity afforded by the Church's property in Israel to witness effectively to the love of Christ in good times and bad."