By Jennifer Moore
January 31, 2023 | MACEDONIA
“Hine Ma Tov” (Behold How Good) has long been one of my favorite Jewish hymns to sing. It celebrates the goodness and joy experienced by God’s children when they come together in unity and is an accurate description of the 87th session of the Provisional Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania.
As we gathered as one body, inspired by Ephesians 4:4, we shared our triumphs and struggles, our hopes and disappointments, our joys and our frustrations. We sang together, enjoyed meals together, planned together and did a lot of praying for each other.
During this gathering, we went on a wonderful excursion to the village of Lin, about 12 miles north of Pogradec, Albania. Just above Lin village are the ruins of an ancient Paleo-Christian Basilica. It was a popular pilgrimage site for Byzantine Christians and is one of about 10 basilicas built in Albania during the 5th and 6th centuries. Amazingly, it still has some of its lovely mosaics intact. A little further down the peninsula, we encountered an old war bunker that locals had outfitted with icons and candles in order to convert it into a chapel. It was a stark reminder of the regime changes and periods of war that have so many times swept over these lands and also a call to be thankful for the peace the area is currently enjoying.