Chelmsford Diocesan Pilgrimage
A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus
The Rt Rev’d Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani
The Very Rev’d Paul Kennington
26th January – 4th February 2024
This pilgrimage will help us to prepare for keeping Lent as a time in which we seek to draw closer to Jesus Christ. We shall hear his words with greater clarity and so be able to enter more fully into the mystery of his death and resurrection
The encounter with him in word and sacrament will shape each day of this pilgrimage, as we celebrate the Eucharist in one of the holy sites and align ourselves with the ancient Christian community that still lives where he taught and ministered.
The journey will be undertaken with the advantages of modern travel and communication. But the purpose of our journeying has motivated Christians across nearly two thousand years: it is an encounter with the living God, seen in the face of Jesus of Nazareth.
This pilgrimage offers us an opportunity to let the pages of scripture come alive, as we sit where the crowds listened to Jesus preaching and witnessed his healing miracles, as we trace the steps of shepherds who sought the new-born prince of Peace, and as we walk the ancient streets of Jerusalem, the setting of his passion, his resurrection and the empowering gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Flights on British Airways from London Heathrow
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 9 nights accommodation
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £3620
- Any items of a personal nature
- Travel insurance
Day 1, Friday 26th January
Journeying to the Holy Land We meet at Heathrow Airport for our flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival in Tel Aviv we will be met by our guide and then driven north to the Sisters of Nazareth Guest House for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 2, Saturday 27th January
After breakfast we walk to Christ Church, Nazareth for an opening celebration of the Eucharist and to learn about the Anglican Community in Nazareth. After the Eucharist we walk through the narrow winding market streets of the souk to an old Synagogue Church and then visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the traditional site of Mary’s Well. We will then proceed to the village of Cana, the site of Jesus’s first sign before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we drive to Mount Tabor, traditionally associated with the Transfiguration, to spend time on the summit overlooking the wonderful views of the Jezreel Valley (the plains of Armageddon). On the way home we visit the exciting excavations at Magdala, the home town of Jesus’ close friend and follower Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala). It was a major first-century port and specialised in salted and smoked fish and exported its products all over the Mediterranean. Dinner and overnight stay in the German Benedictine Guest house on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Sunday 28th January
Today will be devoted to a leisurely exploration of the area that was the base for Jesus’ ministry by the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. We being our day with the Eucharist at Tabgha, and visit the Church of the Loaves and Fishes. We will then visit sites associated with the call of the first disciples, the beautiful Church and garden of the Beatitudes, the Primacy Church of St Peter, the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Galilean Ministry, to view the house of Peter and a partially rebuilt 4th century synagogue, built over the site where Jesus often preached. After a break for lunch we will sail on a modern day version of the boat used for fishing at the time of Jesus, and also see the remains of a similar boat which dates back to the early First Century. Return early to our Guest House for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 4, Monday 29th January
This morning we bid farewell to the Galilee and begin our journey south if possible driving through the heart of the West Bank. Entering the Palestinian Territories near Jenin, our first stop is at the city of Nablus in which is found Jacob’s Well a site which Jesus himself visited on a journey to Jerusalem. From here we drive through the heart of the Israeli Occupation where we will see settlements as we make our way down to the Jordan valley to Qasr al Yahud, the traditional site near where John baptised Jesus, which reopened after been closed for decades and where we will have an opportunity to renew our own Baptism vows. After a break for lunch in the oasis city of Jericho, the city of palms we will have an opportunity for a view of Mount of Temptation and Qarantal Monastery which clings precariously to the side of the mountain. We then proceed up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Bethlehem for the first of two nights stay in a Christian Hotel in the city in which Christ was born. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 5, Tuesday 30th January
Today will be devoted to discovering more about incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. After breakfast we drive to the Shepherd’s fields before visiting the Orphanage / Creche of the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul where we will celebrate the Eucharist. It is the only facility of its kind in the West Bank offering Christian love and compassion for over forty abandoned babies and small children. We hope to be able to visit Bethlehem University before lunch and then we will visit the historic Basilica of the Nativity and the grotto where Jesus is said to have been born. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 6, Wednesday 31st January
We will leave our hotel and subject to local conditions drive south to Hebron, to the Oaks of Mamre where Abraham, Sarah, Jacob and Rebecca and Leah are buried. We will see how Hebron has been divided by the Occupation and will have the chance to visit both the mosque and the synagogue. We will then continue to Jerusalem and a break for lunch. In the afternoon we drive back to recall the Palm Sunday route as we slowly make our way downhill. We start at Bethphage, the traditional starting point of the procession of palms and in the course of our journey will visit the church of the Pater Noster, where we recall Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples and the church of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over the fate of the city. Finally, we reach the Garden of Gethsemane and the dark and brooding Church of All Nations where we recall Jesus’ agonized prayers prior to his arrest and reflect on the failure of his closest friends to keep awake and watch with him. We the proceed to check-in to our hotel situated within the Old Walled City. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Thursday 1st February
We begin our morning programmed by driving round to the Dung Gate to visit the Western Wall and if permitted to ascend the Temple Mount to view from outside the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. We then visit holy sites located on Mount Zion, where the earliest Christian community lived in the days following the resurrection. Here we will find a site commemorating both the Upper Room used for the Last Supper as well as the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and a striking abbey in honour of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary where we hope to celebrate the Eucharist. We will then visit the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, built at the top of an ancient set of steps which leads up from the City of David to what is believed to have been the residence of the High Priest. Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to his trial by the Jewish authorities after his arrest. After a break for lunch we will visit the Israel Museum to view the Shrine of the Book and the model of Jerusalem based on the time of Jesus. There will be an optional visit of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Friday 2nd February
After breakfast we proceed to Lions Gate and make our way to the beautiful Crusader Church of St. Anne overlooking the Pools of Bethesda before visiting the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, built on the foundations of the Antonia Fortress, the Roman Garrison of Jerusalem. After celebrating the Eucharist we will view the recently excavated first century stone pavement (Gabbatha in the gospels) and then follow the Way of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary enshrined within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a break for a late lunch we drive to the village of Ein Karem, venerated as the birthplace of John the Baptist and the church associated with Mary’s meeting with her cousin Elizabeth. We will bring our day to a close with worship here, before returning to Jerusalem and our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 9, Saturday 3rd February
After breakfast we leave Jerusalem and drive to the village of Abu Ghosh, one of the sites associated with the village of Emmaus in the gospels, where we will celebrate the Eucharist together at the Convent of the Sisters of the Ark. Late morning we will drive down towards the Dead Sea to visit Qumran to view the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd and to view the excavated monastery of the Essene Community which may have produced the famous scrolls. After lunch there will be an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral laden waters of the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 10, Sunday 4th February
After breakfast and packing our bags we will make our way to St George’s Cathedral and join with the local Christian community for our final Eucharist. After a short break for lunch we proceed to Tel Aviv airport for our journey home to tell all those whom we meet about what has happened to us on the Way….