THE HOLY LAND
Following in the footsteps of Jesus
A Pilgrimage through the Biblical Lands of Israel and Palestine
The Revd Sue Cooke
10th – 19th October 2022
“Come and join me as we walk where Jesus walked and visit many of the places you might only ever have read about in the Bible. A visit to the Holy Land is an incredible opportunity to bring new perspective and fresh insight to our faith. We will spend time in the busy city of Jerusalem, in the fields of Bethlehem and in quiet reflection on the shore of Lake Galilee. We will laugh, travel, learn, pray, worship and grow together. For each traveller there will be different highlights and special moments, but I am certain you will all be changed by the experiences and adventure we will share.”
- Scheduled flights on British Airways from London Heathrow Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- 9 nights accommodation at selected hotels
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- Single room price per person £2799
- Travel insurance
- Gratuities £85
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Monday 10th October
Journeying to the Holy Land
We gather at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for our non-stop morning flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will be met by Lightline’s Airport representative and led to our waiting guide and coach to drive us up to Jerusalem. We will drive to the summit of Mount Scopus for a breath taking view of Jerusalem, the Old City and its magnificent medieval walls before checking in to our hotel within the Old City. Time to relax before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 2, Tuesday 11th October
The Mount of Olives and Mount Zion
After breakfast, we drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives to recall the Palm Sunday route and visit places associated with particular events in the gospels 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 then proceed across the Kidron Valley to visit Mount Zion and the traditional site of the Last Supper, and Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu and view the recently excavated Roman pathway and steps that lead up from the Old City. Return to our hotel in good time to relax before dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 3, Wednesday 12th October
The Old City of Jerusalem
This morning we drive around to St Stephen’s Gate and then make our way to the beautiful Crusader Church of St. Anne overlooking the Pools of Bethesda. Visiting the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, built on the foundations of the Antonia Fortress, the Roman Garrison of Jerusalem we 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 lunch, we drive over to West Jerusalem to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum and park. We return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. After dinner we will have the option of joining an evening walk through the Old City. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 4, Thursday 13th October
The Dead Sea, Qumran and Bethlehem
After packing our bags and breakfast we begin our days programme by visiting the Western Wall, a section of the retaining wall of King Solomon’s Temple and Judaism’s holiest site and if permitted we will ascend Mount Moriah to visit the Temple Area and view the Dome of the Rock. Late morning we leave Jerusalem and drive down to the Dead Sea Basin to visit Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and the remains of an Essene Monastery where the scrolls probably originated. After a break for lunch we will have an opportunity to bath in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Leaving the Dead Sea we make our back up the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives and continue through the check-point in the nine-metre high separation wall into the town of Bethlehem and check-in to our hotel in central Bethlehem. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 5, Friday 14th October
Bethlehem and it’s surrounds
Today will be devoted to discovering more about incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. We will visit the Shepherds’ Fields in Beth Sahour and the Church of the Nativity, as well as some remarkable institutions run by the Christian community of the ‘little town’. We hope to visit the St Vincent Creche/Orphanage - the only facility of its kind in the West Bank, offering Christian love and compassion to over forty abandoned babies and small children and the Dar-al Kalima College created by Revd Dr Mitri Raheb, the Lutheran pastor of Bethlehem. We will have an opportunity for some souvenir shopping before returning to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Bethlehem.
Day 6, Saturday 15th October
The Jordan Valley, Jericho and on to Galilee
This morning we travel to Galilee. From Bethlehem we drive down to the oasis city of Jericho, to view the traditional Sycamore tree and Quarantal Monastery on the Mount of Temptation. Late morning we continue to Qasr al Yehud on the River Jordan and the site believed to be close to where John baptized Jesus and where we will have an opportunity to renew our baptism vows. After a break for lunch we drive up the Jordan Valley and 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 proceed to the Sea of Galilee and our hotel in Tiberias. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 7, Sunday 16th October
Nazareth, Beit Shean
After breakfast we drive to Nazareth, the town associated with the beginning of the gospel message, to see how the Good News is both remembered and lived out today. We will begin by joining the local Christian community for worship at Christ Church. Late morning 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 we return to our guest house in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 8, Monday 17th October
Jesus’ lakeside ministry
This morning we follow the ministry of Jesus along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and in the hills overlooking the Lake. After a Eucharist at the lakeside chapel at Peniel we continue to Tabgha to the Church of the Loaves and Fishes that commemorates the feeding of the 5,000. At Capernaum the centre of Jesus Galilean ministry we visit the first century house identified as the home of Peter where Jesus would have stayed then drive into the hills to the Mount of Beatitudes that overlooks virtually all the places where Jesus lived and worked. After lunch at Kibbutz En Gev we sail on the Sea of Galilee and return to our hotel. On route we will visit the “Jesus boat” a 1st century boat recovered from the lake. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 9, Tuesday 18th October
Acre & relaxation by the lake
We leave Tiberias after breakfast and drive to the ancient town of Acre, the main seaport of the Crusader kingdom. It fell to the First Crusade, surrendered to Saladin, and was retaken for Christendom by Richard the Lionheart. When it finally fell to the Mameluke Sultan Ashraf in 1291 it marked the end of the Crusader adventure overseas. Within its 18th century walls we visit the now subterranean fortress and administrative centre of the knights of St John of Jerusalem, the last Crusaders to leave Acre. Afterwards we return to Galilee and our hotel to spend our last afternoon and evening relaxing by the Sea of Galilee and the town of Tiberias with it’s lakefront promenade cafés and restaurants. Farewell dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 10, Wednesday 19th October
Caesarea - Journey home
We leave Galilee after an early breakfast to drive south and along the coast to Caesarea Maritima to visit this beautiful Roman and Crusader port city. View the ancient harbour, fortifications, twin aqueducts and theatre. Paul was imprisoned here for almost two years before his trial in Rome. For Christians it is a place of great significance as it was here that Peter baptised the first Gentile, Cornelius the Roman Centurion. We break for lunch at the historic port before heading to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and our return flight to London.