A visit to Israel earlier this summer provided three Southwest residents an opportunity to deepen the roots of their Christian faith. Eugene “Gene” Burke, Rev. Christopher Holland of New Spirit Community Church and his daughter Jaelyn joined a 10-day Passages tour which included some 150 area believers who boarded buses daily to course through the Holy Land from Jerusalem to Galilee and affirm their Christian birthright.
One of the highlights for Burke, Director of Outreach and Fundraising Administration at The Common Place on Chester Avenue, was the visit to a kibbutz (a modern collective farm) near the mount where Jesus preached his sermon on the Beatitudes on the shores of the Sea of Gennesaret in Galilee. “I went out walking there late at night just to sit by the lake surrounded by the hills where the bible tells us Jesus walked and taught,” he recalled. “I also went there before dawn to watch the sun rising in the east over the lake. It was a chance to be in a place where scripture describes how Jesus healed sick and troubled people. This was especially comforting to me because I had been through the turmoil of losing my mother two weeks before we made the trip.
“Throughout our stay, we were able to recognize and make a connection with both ancient and current communities of subject people,” Burke reflected. “We realized that Christ himself had limited his ministry
to the Galilean region around the lake. He placed the task of spreading the Good News of salvation on his disciples to permeate the rest of the world.
“His ideas of love and mercy changed the world of his day, and are so needed in today’s world as well. We here at The Common Place are tasked to do his work here in this community among people who know and trust us.”
In addition to his office duties at The Common Place (TCP), Burke directs music for the Common Worship Experience and at Grace Christian Fellowship Church. He is presently enrolled in advanced courses at Eastern University. He and his wife Fatima, an internet web designer, are the proud parents of four sons, David, Micaiah, Aaron, and Judah.
Burke concluded his remarks by inviting his Southwest neighbors to find out more about the programs and activities of The Common Place – After school and Saturday morning enrichment for school-age children, open common family worship and common meals, monthly Saturday bible study for men, and more. The Common Place is located at the corner of 58th Street and Chester Avenue (entrance through the parking lot off 58th Street. More information is available at www.thecommonplacephilly.com or by phoning 267-275-8238.