Tour overview

Walking with Jesus in The Holy Land

Led by The Very Revd John Dobson – The Dean of Ripon Cathedral and Bishop John Pritchard – Former Bishop of Oxford

We are delighted to be inviting a group to join us on pilgrimage in the Holy Land in October 2020. Like thousands of Christians before us we’ve always found that this pilgrimage has stimulated and nourished our faith in a unique and lasting way, and we hope you might like to join us.

We will be spending our days getting close to the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, visiting sites that resonate wonderfully with the faith that we have heard and sung about week by week in church, but which springs to life in a whole new way in the holy places themselves.

We’ll also meet some of the heirs of Jesus, the ‘living stones’, in the small but remarkable Christian communities that sustain a Christian witness in what are inevitably very difficult circumstances. Pilgrims with us have often found these encounters some of the most memorable things to have happened to them on the pilgrimage.

We will be travelling with Lightline Pilgrimages, a Christian travel company that works exclusively with Christian agents, hotels, restaurants and tour guides, and which is the ‘official and preferred’ pilgrimage partner for the Anglican diocese of Jerusalem. This ensures that we support our Christian brothers and sisters in a very practical way, and that we gain access to communities that are very close to the ground in Israel/Palestine.

This is always an enormously rich experience, journeying together around the places that mean so much to us in the Land of the Holy One. We always feel that every Christian ought to go there at least once in their lives! Do start saving and join us next October.

Dean John                            +John

Included

  • Scheduled flights on British Airways from London Heathrow
  • All airport departure & passenger taxes (UK & Israel)
  • Accommodation at selected guest houses & hotels:
  • All entrance fees and local government taxes
  • Qualified English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • All touring in modern air-conditioned tourist coaches
  • All gratuities throughout (guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff)

Not Included

  • Single room (limited availability) £490
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any items of a personal nature (laundry & drinks etc)

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Day 1, Thursday 8th October

We gather in Terminal Five of Heathrow Airport for our morning flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we are met by our guide and coach and transferred to our Pilgrim Guest House on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, arriving in time to unpack and enjoy an evening meal. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 2, Friday 9th October

We begin our pilgrimage by visiting Nazareth, the town associated with the beginning of the gospel message, to see how the Good News is both remembered and lived out today. Our first stop will be Christ Church and then we proceed to 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. We then drive the short distance to Cana to visit the traditional site of Jesus’ first sign before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we 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. Return to the Sea of Galilee and our guest house in good time to freshen up before dinner.

Day 3, Saturday 10th October

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 begin with Eucharist at the Primacy of St Peter by the shores of the lake. We will then proceed to visit sites associated with the call of the first disciples, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount, and the village of Capernaum. We will also sail on a modern-day version of the kind of boat used for fishing at the time of Jesus and also see the remains of a similar boat which dates back to the early First Century. We then visit the excavations of the ancient port-town of Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene, before returning to our guest house. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 4, Sunday 11th October

After an early breakfast we will celebrate the Eucharist in Tabgha before leaving Galilee and driving south. Our route will take us through the heart of the West Bank, noting as we drive some of the ‘facts on the ground’ about the Occupation. We first visit Sebaste (Sebastiya) and the remains of one of Herod’s palaces and temples. Both Orthodox Christians and Moslems believe that John the Baptist’s beheaded body was buried here. We then continue to the city of Nablus to visit Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel tells us of Jesus’ encounter with the woman drawing water. We also hope to visit the Anglican parish church of St Phillip in the city. After lunch we will drive down to Qasr al Yehud on the River Jordan, to the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptised by John, where we will renew our baptism vows. We will stop for a view of the Mount of Temptation and Greek monastery that clings precariously to the side of the mountain before driving up through the hills of the Judean Wilderness towards Bethlehem. We proceed through the checkpoint in the towering separation wall into Bethlehem for the first of two nights stay in the city in which Christ was born. Dinner and overnight stay by Manger Square in Bethlehem.

Day 5, Monday 12th October

Today will be devoted to discovering more about incarnation and the gift of life in all its abundance. 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’. 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 amazing International Centre of Bethlehem created by Revd Dr Mitri Raheb, the Lutheran pastor of Bethlehem which has already helped many thousands with education, vocational training and various charity projects. Dinner and overnight stay in Bethlehem.

Day 6, Tuesday 13th October

This 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. We will also visit The Tent of Nations, another amazing organization that promotes non-violence and helps build relationships between people of other faiths and nationalities. After a break for lunch we proceed to the summit of the Mount of Olives and stop briefly on the summit for a breathtaking view of the Old City of Jerusalem with its beautiful medieval walls. We then 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 continue to our hotel within the old walled city of Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 7, Wednesday 14th October

We begin our day with a brief visit to the Western Wall before ascending Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, the Day of Pentecost and the falling asleep of Mary, before finishing our morning at the church of St Peter in Gallicantu and recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. After a break for lunch we will drive over to west Jerusalem to visit the Israel Museum to view the Shrine of the book and a detailed model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. Return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 8, Thursday 15th October

This morning we leave Jerusalem after an early breakfast and drive down into the Dead Sea basin and begin by visiting Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. After a short presentation we will have an opportunity to explore the excavation of a nearby Essene Monastery where the scrolls probably originated. We then continue south along the shores of the Dead Sea to Mount Masada. We ascend the summit by cable car to visit Herod’s stepped Palace complex. It was on this flat-topped mountain that the Jewish Partisans committed mass suicide during the Jewish revolt against Rome. After a break for lunch we will have the opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral laden waters of the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem, arriving in good time for dinner. We hope to be joined by members of Parents Circle - a unique grassroots organization made up of hundreds of families, half Israeli and half Palestinian, who have all lost immediate family members to the conflict.

Day 9, Friday 16th October

After an early breakfast we drive around the Old City and enter via the Lion’s Gate (St Stephen’s Gate) and visit the beautiful Crusader Church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda, before we begin our walk along the Way of the Cross through the narrow streets of the Old City, stopping at the Sisters of Zion convent to celebrate Eucharist and 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 visit the Holocaust memorial museum and park to pay our respects to the millions who lost their lives during the Nazi occupation of Europe. Return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before our farewell dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.

Day 10, Saturday 17th October

After packing our bags we will head west towards the Mediterranean and the airport, stopping at the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus, to celebrate a final Eucharist together 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…

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