A 8 day Pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine
Welcome! I am delighted to invite you to join me as we journey together here in the Holy Land.
A pilgrimage is a journey with a sacred purpose. We tread the roads that Jesus trod, walk in the hills where He played as a child, visit places where Jesus taught and healed. We follow in His footsteps to Jerusalem and way, way beyond perhaps. We share many new experiences together in this beautiful and troubled land. A land of contrasts, both past and present. As we journey, we meet those who live and work here and hear their stories.
This is a pilgrimage for everyone. We will be a wonderfully disparate bunch of people from all over the UK and, hopefully, internationally, all wishing to be part of this special adventure.
But I have arranged it specifically at this time to include those of you who have longed to come, but have been unable to because of work commitments. Many of you may work in schools. Many of you perhaps teach Religious Education. It’s your chance to add new understanding, new colour and excitement to what you teach. My hope is that, on the way, you will grow into a deeper understanding of who Jesus is for you, and what that means for you as you return home.
Welcome to the prospect. Welcome to the hope that has brought you to this place. My prayer is that you will be closer to answering the question that Jesus puts to each one of us: “Who do you say that I am?” So, come and see. Spend some time in this beautiful land, soaking in all that this land has to share with you.
May God bless you richly.
- Scheduled flights on Easyjet Airways from Luton Airport
- All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
- All hotels are fully air-conditioned with en-suite facilities
- Full board basis throughout (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
- All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
- All gratuities (guides, drivers, hotel staff etc)
- Single room (limited availability) £495
- Travel insurance
- Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)
Day 1, Saturday 13th February
We gather at London Luton Airport for our morning flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will be met by our guide and then driven to Bethlehem entering through a check-point in the massive separation wall. We then enter the city in which Christ was born. Dinner and overnight stay by Manger Square in Bethlehem.
Day 2, Sunday 14th February
Our first morning will be devoted to discovering more about Incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. After an early breakfast we will visit the Shepherds’ Fields where we will celebrate the Eucharist, then on to the Church of the Nativity. Late morning we leave Bethlehem and drive down through the hills of the Judean wilderness to the ancient city of Jericho “the city of palms” to view the Mount of Temptation and 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 lakeside hotel arriving in good time to relax and freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Monday 15th February
We start our day after an early breakfast and drive across the Jezreel Valley (the biblical scene of Armageddon) to Mount Tabor and ascend 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 would 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 which is still under excavation. 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 4, Tuesday 16th February
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 an up scaled replica 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 5, Wednesday 17th February
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 its 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. With time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 6, Thursday 18th February
After breakfast we drive 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. After a break for lunch we make our way to St Stephen’s 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. Late afternoon we make our way to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum and park before returning to our hotel in good time for dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Friday 19th February
This morning we leave Jerusalem after breakfast and drive down into the Dead Sea basin to visit Qumran , the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were found and to explore the remains of an Essene monastery where the scrolls probably originated. After a break for lunch and an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea we continue to Mount Masada and Herod’s stepped palace complex which we ascend by cable-car. Late afternoon we drive back along the shores of the Dead Sea and up to Jerusalem. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Saturday 20th February
After breakfast we visit the Israel Museum to view the detailed model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus before continuing to the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus, to celebrate a final Eucharist together. We then 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…