THE HOLY LAND
A 9 day Pilgrimage to Biblical Lands of Israel and Palestine
The Revd Doug Spenceley
6th – 14th June 2022
Dear Friend and Fellow Pilgrim,
Welcome! I wonder if, like so many people during these last challenging years, you have been thinking deeply about who you are or what the purpose of life is?
This pilgrimage is for you! This is a beautiful land full of contrasts, where the ancient stones of what we call today Israel and Palestine bear witness to the same struggles and history as we do today.
A pilgrimage is an encounter:
• an encounter with silent ancient stones, each one with a story of its own.
• an encounter with the places where Jesus trod.
• an encounter with the hills where Jesus played.
• an encounter with the modern, living stones, the people of today, who bring fresh stories of current struggles. Yet somehow, in this glorious and beautiful land of contrasts, life goes on.
Come and join me as we ask question of faith and identity.
Come as spend time in the land we dare to call ‘Holy’ – to say, I hope, after thought and prayer, “It is good, Lord, to be here!”
I hope and pray that you will return refreshed and renewed, with a fresh understanding of this land, and closer to answering the questions that Jesus puts to all of us: “Who do you say that I am?”
Welcome to the prospect. Welcome to the hope which has brought you to this place. May our experience be a faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And may God bless you richly
- Scheduled flights on Easyjet from London Luton Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 8 nights accommodation at selected hotels
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Gratuities £80
- Single room price per person £2595
- Donations — Revd Spenceley has expressed his desire to support a number of Christian institutions and charities which you will encounter as you journey through the Holy Land and invites you to give £40 towards this.
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
- Travel insurance
Day 1, Monday 6th June
Journeying to the Holy Land
We gather at London Luton Airport for our morning flight to Tel Aviv. on arrival we will be met by our guide and driver and then driven up to Jerusalem and our hotel within the Old Walled City. Overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 2, Tuesday 7th June
In and around Bethlehem
Our first day will be devoted to discovering more about Incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. After breakfast we will drive to nearby Beth Sahour to visit the Shepherds’ Fields where we will celebrate the Eucharist. We then return to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, the site of Jesus’s birth and the adjoining Catholic Church built above the caves where St Jerome translated the Bible into Latin. After a break for lunch we drive to the Nassar family farm, better known as the Tent of Nations. Daoud’s family have owned the hilltop for more than 100 years and have a peaceful mission to build bridges between the peoples of the Holy Land. We will return to Bethlehem for time to do some souvenir shopping. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 3, Wednesday 8th June
Jordan Valley to Galilee
We rise early to visit the Cave of the Nativity, returning to our hotel for breakfast. After breakfast we leave Bethlehem and drive down through the hills of the Judean wilderness enroute stopping for a view of St George’s Monastery in Wadi Qelt, before continuing to the ancient oasis city of Jericho, “the city of palms” to view of the Mount of Temptation and the Orthodox monastery that clings precariously to the cliff face of the mountain. After a short break for lunch we continue to Qasr al Yehud on the River Jordan, the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptised by John, where we will renew our baptism vows. Leaving the River Jordan we continue north along the Jordan Valley to the Sea of Galilee and on to our hotel in the town of Tiberias, arriving in good time to relax and freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4, Thursday 9th June
Mount Tabor, Nazareth & Cana
We start our day after 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 visit 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 lunch we will visit Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign, before visiting Sephoris, a Roman and Byzantine city still under excavation. According to tradition Mary came from this town and it is possible where Joseph may have worked as a carpenter. It was a major city between Nazareth and the port of Acre. Finally we return to our lakeside hotel in good time for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5, Friday 10th June
Jesus’ Lakeside Ministry
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 will visit sites associated with the call of the first disciples, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and Peter’s Primacy where we will celebrate the Eucharist, the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, and the ancient fishing village of Capernaum which was at the centre of Jesus’ ministry. We will also sail on a modern-day version of the kind of boat used for fishing at the time of Jesus. We end our day with a visit to the exciting excavations at Magdala, the home town of Jesus close friend and follower, Mary Magdalene. Excavations to date have revealed sections of the port walls, a market, several homes shops and most importantly a first century synagogue that was probably destroyed by the Romans. Return to our hotel in good time for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 6, Saturday 11th June
An Ancient Route
This morning we leave the Galilee after an early breakfast and head south 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 city of Nablus. Here we will visit Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. We then continue to Taybeh, the only 100% Christian village remaining in Palestine where we hope to visit the “House of Parables”. From Taybeh we make our way through check-points to Jerusalem and break for a snack lunch before proceeding to the summit of the Mount of Olives. After a breathtaking view of Jerusalem and it’s beautiful medieval walls we trace Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain, stopping at two churches on the way, before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane, and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony. Finally we make our way to our hotel situated within the walls of the Old City. Check-in and time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Sunday 12th June
After breakfast we make our way to St George’s Cathedral to join members of the local Christian community for Sunday worship. After service we drive over to west Jerusalem and the Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea scrolls and the detailed model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus. After a break for lunch we will drive down to the Dead Sea for a opportunity to bathe in it’s unique mineral-laden waters. We will then visit Qumran and the remains of an Essene Monastery where the Dead Sea scrolls may have originated. Later afternoon we return to Jerusalem and visit the Western Wall before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 8, Monday 13th June
Mount Zion and The Old City
We begin our day by driving to Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, Pentecost and the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. Late morning we make our way to St Stephen’s Gate (Lion Gate) and the beautiful Crusader Church of St Anne’s by the Pools of Bethesda and begin our walk along the Way of the Cross through the narrow streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, culminating in the extraordinary Church of the Holy Sepulchure, believed to be built over the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. After a break for lunch we will make our way to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum before returning to our hotel in good time for our farewell dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 9, Tuesday 14th June
Emmaus and our journey home
Today after packing our bags and breakfast we leave Jerusalem and drive to the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus, to celebrate a final Eucharist together and a break for lunch before heading on to the airport for our journey home, to tell all those whom we meet about what has happened to us on the road…