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Clearing the way at Christ’s baptismal site

Tim Porter highlights a key project which will improve access to the site of Jesus’ baptism.

THE Scottish-based charity, the HALO Trust has secured agreement from the Israeli an Palestinian authorities to remove landmines laid fifty years ago at Qaser al-Yahud, the site of the Baptism of Christ on the western bank of the River Jordan.

Qaser al-Yahud is the third most holy place in Christianity and a site of great historical importance. It is also currently inside a restricted military zone. Clearance of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) at the site for the first time since 1967 is offering a unique opportunity to promote inter-faith reconciliation, supporting the eight Christian Churches with ruined chapels on the land through action that is practical and highly visible.

Opening the site up fully will bring about an increase in the numbers of visiting pilgrims, worshippers and tourists who will contribute to the economy of nearby Jericho and the Jordan Valley. At the same time the clearance will resonate with the hugely popular global campaign to rid the world of landmines.

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About Life and Work

Inside this month’s issue we have an unexpected Easter Feast, Jolyon Mitchell considers the impact and influence of art in telling the story of Emmaus and opening eyes. Tim Porter highlights the work of the Halo Trust, a charity involved in a key project to improve access to the site of Jesus' baptism.