Prayer and worship have been a central part of the Church of Scotland’s presence in Tiberias since 1885. There was no church building until 1930 when the present building was established in a peaceful setting close to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Worship in English is held every Sunday evening at 6pm, and Communion is celebrated most weeks.
The Church of Scotland has two churches in Israel –- the other is the St Andrew’s Scots Memorial Church in Jerusalem. As well as the Scots Hotel here in Tiberias, the Church of Scotland operates the Tabeetha School in Jaffa and the St Andrew’s Scots Guesthouse in Jerusalem. These organisations work together towards the Church’s goals of relationship healing through education, ministry and hospitality. This holistic Christian philosophy is embedded within the church’s organisations through the adoption of a social enterprise approach.
The Church of Scotland is part of the Worldwide Communion of Reformed Churches and our church is the only Reformed church in the Galilee. Worshippers visit the church from all over the world, and share with our small local congregation.
The church, which can hold 130 people, is often used by the Scots Hotel as a venue for concerts, and by groups who desire a quiet and reflective space close to the Sea of Galilee. The upper floor of the building is currently occupied by a small Messianic Jewish elementary school. A new Quiet Room sits within an ancient city wall tower which is a part of the Hotel complex.
The Minister, the Reverend Kate McDonald, took up the post in November 2015. Before moving to Tiberias, Kate worked as Assistant Curate at Old Saint Paul’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Edinburgh.
Kate has a pastoral role with staff and Christian visitors at the Scots Hotel and elsewhere. And she actively works alongside and supports local Christians and Christian groupings — in particular working with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Both these Churches have formal partnership agreements with the Church of Scotland.
Kate blogs about ministry and life in this land at revisedontology.com.