Rev. Kathleen Kline Chesson

 I am senior pastor of First Christian Church, Fall Church, Virginia. This tour has been wonderful in so many ways, and I have been exhausted by all that we have done, little tired, umm, but at many different levels it’s been very powerful. First from the historical level, for me to begin to understand the history of this region and know it in a way I’ve never known or probably was ever taught when I was growing up at school. So to learn much more about the history of this region, the rich rich history of this region has been wonderful….umm, I think that the hospitality of the people has been wonderful, very generous, extremely generous. This particular tour has been fun with all of you all, and I am really sad that we are going to be leaving each other tomorrow in a great way, because I really have been watching each of us interact with each other person at different times, we are all interacting wonderfully with one another, and that has been wonderful, wonderful!

In terms of entertainment I think Ali wins that one, it has been vey wonderful and entertaining, and has made the trip on many different levels wonderful; it has been wonderful to come to know Sumeyye, and I am glad that you are gonna be right near us so that we can welcome your new baby. One a spiritual level for me this has been wonderful, especially I think, well, Ephesus was very powerful, as a Christian walking in the footsteps and the places where Paul and some of the earliest Christian believers walked and where they kind of learnt to be passionate about their faith and understood and knew it, actually developed it. It was really really powerful. To me an amphitheater where Paul stood was, you know really, umh, brought things to a much deeper level. But I think the most profoundly spiritual experience happened when we were in the stone churches. To be at the places that early Christian monks, fathers and mothers, people that I have read and admired and tried to emulate, and then to be there, you know, was really wonderful.

The food! Have to mention the food; it has been wonderful. My husband and I wanna take a Turkish club; we haven’t planned it yet, but we want to take a Turkish cooking class. And I guess, as I go on I will think more and more things, I will have forgotten to say so many things, cause everybody else has said things; umm, but also to see the commitment to living in a world that all of us get along whether we are Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Budhist, where all of us can learn to respect and admire each other and still admire each other’s faith; you know, you don’t have to believe exactly the same things to love each other. I am so moved by that particular facet of what the Rumi Forum, what the Gulen movement does, which is to try to bring the people together. I think that is the only hope for our world! I agree also that the foundations that are in education; and so I would pray that this kind of way of living is something we can all continue to work towards and embrace, if not always the exact same way, you know, in our own way…

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