Tour overview

Following in the footsteps of Jesus

Led by
The Revd Neil Patterson

Following the success of our last pilgrimage we have been asked to arrange another pilgrimage. Our pilgrimage is designed to introduce people both to the places associated with the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, and also to meet members of the various Christian communities in the Holy Land.

The Holy Land has been called the fifth gospel. Once visited it is impossible to read the four gospels in the same way ever again. Being a pilgrim there earths one’s faith. Visiting and venerating the place of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, or the actual place of his crucifixion in Jerusalem impresses the reality of what we have read in the Bible. Nowhere is more moving or evocative than the Sea of Galilee which has changed less than any other site and where fishermen still cast their nets on the water. We will explore the principal sites of Jesus’ ministry around Capernaum and his home town of Nazareth.

In addition to visiting the sites we hope to meet local Christians and visit a refugee camp.

By coming on this pilgrimage you will have a chance to support many local Christians in the Holy Land – our accommodation in Jerusalem and other local provisions are in the hands of well-established Christian companies, and the investment that this pilgrimage represents will play its small part in helping sustain the “living stones” that help keep this land holy today.

Neil Patterson has served in Hereford Diocese since ordination in 2004, currently as Diocesan Director of Vocations & Ordinands and Rural Dean of Hereford. Neil has published on the history of conflict in the Church of England and looks forward to reflecting with you on the tensions of the Holy Land, as well as rekindling his knowledge of ancient languages. This will be his first pilgrimage with Lightline.

Included

  • All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
  • Accommodation at Selected Guest Houses & Hotels
  • All entrance fees and local government taxes
  • Qualified English speaking gide throughout the tour
  • All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches

Not Included

  • Single room (limited availability) £419
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities £64
  • Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)

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Day 1, Monday 9th November

Journeying to the Holy Land
We meet our Lightline representative at London Luton Airport for our morning flight to Tel Aviv, arriving in the mid afternoon. On arrival we will be met by our guide and driver and driven north to Galilee and our Christian Guest House on the shores of the Sea of Galilee which will be our home for the next three nights. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 2, Tuesday 10th November

Annunciation and Revelation
We start our pilgrimage by driving to Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the largest Christian church in Israel believed to have been built on the house in which the Holy Family lived and an old synagogue church. We then proceed to the village of Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign, for a brief visit before breaking for lunch. After lunch we drive across the fertile Jezreel Valley, the plains of Armageddon to visit Mount Tabor and the Basilica of the Transfiguration on the summit, where we will celebrate the Eucharist. On descending Mount Tabor we return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. We hope to be joined by the Vicar of Nazareth for dinner and for a talk on being a Christian in Nazareth today. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 3, Wednesday 11th November

Teaching and Feeding
Today we will focus on the principal sites of Jesus’ ministry around the home he made for himself by the Sea of Galilee. After commemorating the call of the first disciples in a Eucharist by the Sea itself, as well as sites associated with the Feeding of the 5000, the recommissioning of Peter and the giving of the Sermon on the Mount. We will sail on the Sea of Galilee and then break for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the excavated ruins of Capernaum and the ruins of Kursi, the site associated with the Gadarene swine. We will have time to reflect before returning to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 4, Thursday 12th November

An Ancient Route
After packing our bags we leave our hotel after an early breakfast and drive south through the heart of the West Bank and the hills of Samaria noting as we drive some of the ‘facts on the ground’ about the Occupation as we come to the city of Nablus. Here we will visit St Philip’s Anglican Church and St Luke’s Hospital, before visiting Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. After a break for lunch we journey down to the banks of the River Jordan to the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptized by John, where we will have an opportunity to renew our baptism vows. We will stop briefly for a view of the Mount of Temptation before driving up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Jerusalem and check-in to our hotel situated within the Old Walled City. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 5, Friday 13th November

Bethlehem - Dead Sea - Qumran
After an early breakfast we drive to Bethlehem to visit the Shepherds’ Fields where we will celebrate the Eucharist, before proceeding to the Church of the Nativity, as well as the cultural centre and college created by Mitri Raheb, the Lutheran pastor of Bethlehem. After a break for lunch we will drive down to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth’s surface to visit Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and where we will have the opportunity to bathe/float in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Return to Jerusalem and our hotel in good time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 6, Saturday 14th November

I do not know the man
After breakfast we drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a breathtaking view of the Old City and its beautiful medieval walls before we trace our way from Bethphage, the traditional starting point of the procession of palms, to 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 Church of All Nations, where we recall Jesus’ agonised prayers prior to His arrest and reflect on the failure of His closest friends to keep awake and watch with him. After a break for lunch we drive to Mount Zion, where the earliest Christian community lived in the days following the resurrection. We will visit the Dormition Abbey and finally 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 authorities after his arrest. Here we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life, but also Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 7, Sunday 15th November

Taking up the Cross
If permitted, we will start our day by visiting the Temple Mount where we can see close up (but not enter) the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. This will lead us to the remarkable Crusader church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda which we will visit, before coming to the start of the Via Dolorosa. Here we will celebrate the Eucharist and then wind our way through the narrow alleys of the Old City following the traditional Way of the Cross culminating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After time to reflect we will break for lunch. In the afternoon we drive over to west Jerusalem and visit the Israel Museum to view the remains of the Dead Sea Scrolls and amazing detailed model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus. We then return to our hotel in good time to freshen up. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 8 Monday 16th November

Our journey home
After packing our bags and breakfast we drive to Abu Ghosh, one of the traditional sites associated with the Emmaus story where we will celebrate our final Eucharist in the Holy Land, before heading towards the Mediterranean where we will visit the ancient port city of Jaffa, biblical Joppa which still operates as a tiny fishing port and is today a beautiful artists colony. After visiting the church dedicated to St Peter and a light dinner we make our way to Tel Aviv Airport for our flight home and the chance to tell others what has happened to us on the road…

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