Tour overview

THE HOLY LAND

An 11 day Ecumenical Pilgrimage
Following in the footsteps of Jesus

 Under the joint ecumenical leadership of

The Rev. Dr James Tebbutt & The Right Revd James Newcome

20th – 30th October 2022

In life we’ve seen many advances: from black and white to colour, from High Definition to 3D but nothing can beat the live experience of using all our senses. Join us for this pilgrimage to the Holy Land where we will smell the lilies of the fields as we walk through them, hear the crowds in the streets of Jerusalem, taste the food, feel the gentle breeze on the sea of Galilee, see the past as you touch and walk on ancient stones and roads.

Our journey will trace the Good News of Jesus from Bethlehem and the West Bank, to Jerusalem, then finally to the tranquillity of the Sea of Galilee. We will walk where Jesus walked and let the scriptures come alive as we read them on the very ground where the events took place.

The trip is not just about the past but the present: we will have the opportunity to meet with present day Christians living and working in Palestine and Israel. We will hear their stories and the challenges of being ‘living stones’ in the land of the Holy One.

Being on pilgrimage is far more than being just a tourist. We get the chance to interact with the stories, the land and its peoples, with each other, but the deepest journey for all of us will be the encounter with Jesus.

Rev James Tebbutt & Bishop James

Included

  • Scheduled flights on Easyjet from Manchester Airport
  • All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
  • 10 nights accommodation at selected hotels
  • All entrance fees and local government taxes
  • All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches

Not Included

  • Single room price per person £2990
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities £85
  • Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)

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Day 1, Thursday 20th October

Journeying to the Holy Land

We meet at Manchester Airport for our morning Easyjet flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will be met by our guide and transferred to Jerusalem to check-in to our hotel situated within the Old Walled City. With plenty of time to relax and freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 2, Friday 21 October

Mount of Olives and Mount Zion

After breakfast we drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives and stop for an amazing breath taking view of Jerusalem and the Old City and its’s beautiful surrounding medieval walls before we begin tracing Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain, stopping at Dominus Flevit and the Church of Pater Noster before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony where we will spend some time before breaking for lunch. This afternoon we drive over to Mount Zion, where the earliest Christian community lived in the days following the resurrection. Here we will 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 Jewish High Priest. Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to his trial by the authorities after his arrest. We will spend some time here as we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration on the last night of his life but, also, Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus. We then make our way down to the Old City and begin our walk along the Way of the Cross through the narrow streets of the Old City to the Sisters of Zion and the “Lithostratos”, near where Jesus was condemned by Pilate. Return to Jerusalem and our hotel. After dinner we will have an opportunity to walk through the Old City to the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism at the beginning of the Sabbath. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 3, Saturday 22 October

The Old City & Ein Karem

This morning we set off after breakfast and drive around to the Old City’s Lion Gate and begin our walk along the Way of the Cross through the narrow streets of the Old City to the Sisters of Zion and the “Lithostratos”, near where Jesus was condemned by Pilate. After a snack lunch we continue to make our way to Calvary and the Empty Tomb, enshrined within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After a break for lunch, we drive to the village of Ein Karem, believed to have been the home of John the Baptist and his parents. Here we will have the chance to sing Magnificat in the town in which Mary first uttered those famous and powerful words. We then return to our hotel in good time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 4, Sunday 23 October

Cathedral, Temple & Mount Hebron

We begin our day with the option of joining local Christians at St Georges Cathedral for morning service. Late morning, we combine the depth of religious history of the Holy Land with a clear indication of the modern-day political problems by visiting the city of Hebron with its Tombs of the Patriarchs and seeing how the Old City centre has been divided and impoverished by the Occupation. We will be able to enter both the mosque and the synagogue. Return to Jerusalem for some free time before dinner. After dinner we will have an opportunity to walk through the Old City to the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 5, Monday 24 October

Jordan River, Jericho & Dead Sea

Today we leave Jerusalem after breakfast and drive down through Wadi Qelt in the Judean Wilderness to the Dead Sea basin. We will stop en-route in Wadi Qelt to view St George’s Monastery which clings precariously to the cliff face of the valley. We proceed into the Judean Desert where we will spend some time to observe the desert and time for thought and meditation before continuing to view the Mount of Temptation. From here we drive the short distance to Qasr al Yehud on the banks of the River Jordan, possibly near to the place where John baptised Jesus and where we too will have an opportunity to renew our vows. We then drive to the oasis of Jericho, the City of Palms where we will break for lunch.
In the afternoon we leave Jericho and drive to the shores of the Dead Sea where we will have an opportunity to bathe in its unique mineral-laden waters. On leaving the Dead Sea we will stop briefly in Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and to visit the recently excavated site of an Essene monastery where the scrolls may have originated. We then return towards Jerusalem and continue to Bethlehem proceeding through the check-point in the nine-metre high partition wall. To check-in to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.

Day 6, Tuesday 25 October

Bethlehem & Beit Sahour

Today will be devoted to discovering more about Incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. Here we will visit the Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity as well as some remarkable institutions run by the Christian community of the ‘little town’, including the cultural centre and college created by Mitri Raheb, the Lutheran pastor of Bethlehem. In the afternoon we will visit one of the Refugee Camps before driving on to Herodium, a fortress-palace built by Herod with a Royal tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.

Day 7, Wednesday 26 October

Yad Vashem and Israel Museum & Galilee

We leave Bethlehem after an early breakfast to visit the Israel Museum to see a model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and the Dead Sea scrolls, then on to Yad Vashem to visit the Nazi holocaust Memorial Museum. Late morning, we leave Jerusalem and drive through the heart of the West Bank, noting as we drive some of the ‘facts on the ground’ about the Occupation, as we come to the ruins of the ancient city of Sebastia on the outskirt of Nablus. Sebastia was destroyed by Alexander the Great. Pompey rebuilt it and Augustus bestowed it upon Herod the great in 27BC. It was here that John the Baptist decapitated body was buried. After visiting the Roman and Byzantine ruins we visit the site of Jacobs Well (Genesis 33.20), where the Fourth Gospel (John 4.6-12) tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. Finally, we proceed to the Sea of Galilee and our hotel on the shores of the lake. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 8, Thursday 27 October

Nazareth, Cana & Sepphoris

This morning we begin our day an early breakfast and drive across the Jezreel Valley (the biblical scene of Armageddon) to Mount Tabor and ascend to the summit to visit the Church of the Transfiguration. On descending Mount Tabor we will make our way to Nazareth, the town associated with the beginning of the gospel message. We will visit the site of the only spring in town, where Jesus’ mother will have drawn water, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church. After a break for an early lunch, we will visit Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign, before visiting the town of Sepphoris, a recently excavated Roman and Byzantine city. It was Mary’s hometown, and it has been suggested that Joseph worked as a carpenter here too. Return to our hotel in good time to relax and freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 9, Friday 28 October

Jesus’ lakeside Ministry

We begin our day by driving up to the summit of the Mount of Beatitudes where we will celebrate the Eucharist overlooking the sites where Jesus lived and worked. We will walk down the hillside to Tabgha and the Church of the Loaves and Fishes and the Church of the Primacy of St Peter before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we drive to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee and where he taught in the local synagogue. It was the trading base of Peter, Andrew, James and John as well as Matthew, the tax collector. We begin by exploring the 4th century synagogue built on the foundations of an earlier synagogue that dates to the time of Jesus and quite possibly where Jesus taught. Adjacent is Simon Peter’s house which Jesus made his second home. After some time for thought and reflection we return to our lakeside hotel in good time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 10, Saturday 29 October

Bethsaida & Caesarea Philippi

After breakfast we leave our hotel and drive to Chorazin and Bethsaida. Bethsaida was the birthplace of Peter, Andrew and Philip. Bethsaida is condemned by Jesus for its lack of faith. Here the New Testament records Jesus as restoring the sight of the blind man. We then leave the lake and drive up into the Golan Heights through Druze villages, where we will break for lunch. We then continue to Caesarea Philippi, in the foothills of Mount Hermon. Originally a place sacred to the god Pan (a half-man half-goat god of fright (thus “panic”) and is often depicted playing the flute. This city, which was known in ancient times as Panias, is now called by the Arabic form of this name, Banias and is also one of the main sources of the River Jordan which is fed by the melting snow. it was where Jesus walked with His disciples and where Peter made his profession of faith in Jesus. We then drive west to the Mediterranean coast and proceed to our hotel in the beach resort of Nethanya. Dinner and overnight stay by the Mediterranean.

Day 11, Sunday 30 October

Caesarea & our journey home

After a leisurely morning we pack our bags and leave Nethanya breaking for lunch enroute to the town of Caesarea Maritima, the capital of Palestine for almost 600 years. The city, built by Herod the Great between 22 and 9 BCE and dedicated to Caesar Augustus as a seaport, comprises of a great artificial harbour enclosed by two massive stone breakwaters, a Herodian aqueduct and a theatre seating 4,000 people bearing the name Pontius Pilate on an inscribed plaque. Both Paul and Peter visited Caesarea and Philip made his home here. For Christians it is a place of great significance as it was here that Peter baptised the first Gentile, Cornelius the Roman Centurion. We then make our way to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and check-in for our evening return flight home.

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