Pilgrimage overview

October 11-22, 2022

Led by Fr. Chris Epperson

If you are reading this brochure, it means that you are in the midst of something special.  You are contemplating a pilgrimage to walk in the steps of Jesus, and experience his world.  This will forever change how you read the Bible, and hear the stories of faith.  You will move beyond just hearing to seeing.  The more senses we bring to our journey of faith the better.

I made my first visit to the Holy Land just last summer.  I was intrigued in an intellectual way, moved in an emotional way, and cut to the heart in a spiritual way.  Words fail to express the depth of the experience.  On the way, each of my fellow pilgrims encountered a place that had deep resonance for them.  For some, it was the Sea of Galilee.  For others, it was the Church of the Nativity.  The Garden of Gethsemene was especially powerful, since there is no doubt about the historicity of the site.  Each place offered the opportunity to prayerful engage the mystery of faith.

I invite you to come and see with me.  I will provide a spiritual foundation for the journey, that might make you more attentive to the presence of God.  Imagine a Eucharist by the Sea of Galilee.  Imagine sitting in the garden where Jesus contemplated his death.  Imagine being near the foot of the cross, the tomb and the resurrection.  This is the opportunity.  Say your prayers.  Come and see. 

Included

  • Airfare
  • All airport departure & passenger taxes
  • Hotel Accommodations
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Entrance fees & local government taxes
  • Modern air-conditioned tour buses

Not Included

  • Single room supplement
  • travel insurance
  • Any item of a personal nature
Download pdf brochure

Day 1: Tuesday, October 11

We meet in the morning at Norfolk Airport for the brief flight to Newark, where we will have time to purchase lunch before boarding our afternoon flight to Tel Aviv. Dinner will be served on board and we will have the chance to try and get a good night’s sleep before landing tomorrow morning.

Day 2: wednesday, october 12

We land in Israel mid morning, and will be met by our guide and driver, with whom we will travel north to the Galilee. After a stop for lunch, we will begin our pilgrimage by ascending Mount Tabor, believed to be the site of the Transfiguration. From here, we will be taken to our beautiful pilgrim guest house on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.

Day 3: thursday, october 13

Our day begins with a visit to the major coastal city of Haifa, where we have the chance to visit the local Episcopal parish of St John’s, Haifa, and see the remarkable work undertaken in its school, which has won many awards from the Israeli government for its ministry in education. After lunch, we come to Nazareth, the town in which the Good News of Jesus was first spoken by an angel to a young woman. We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church, before stopping in Cana, to commemorate Jesus’ first sign, when he changed water to wine. We return home to our hotel for our evening meal. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 4: friday, october 14

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, the teaching of the Sermon 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 will also visit the recently excavated first century synagogue at Magdala, the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, before returning to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 5: saturday, october 15

Leaving the beauty and tranquility of the Galilee, we will journey through the heart of the West Bank to the major Palestinian city of Nablus. We will see the work of St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, providing significant specialist medical care in the heart of the city, and visit Jacob’s Well, which was already a place of pilgrimage in the time of Jesus. After lunch we come to the Jordan River to renew our Baptismal Covenant, before arriving into the ‘little town’ of Bethlehem, situated behind the 27-foot high Separation Wall. We will stay here for two nights, in a delightful family-run hotel close to Manger Square.

Day 6: sunday, october 16

We journey to Jerusalem this morning to join the local Episcopal community for its Sunday Eucharist at St George’s Cathedral, the seat of the Episcopal diocese of Jerusalem. Once we have had a chance to meet our sister and brother Episcopalians over coffee we return to Bethlehem and visit the Shepherds Fields and the Church of the Nativity, reminding ourselves again of the story of the Good News of the Incarnation.

Day 7: monday, october 17

This morning we will see how the Good News is lived out in the Bethlehem of today, visiting two remarkable institutions that serve the local community. First we will visit the St Vincent Creche, offering loving care to abandoned babies and small children. From here we go to Bethlehem University where we will be inspired by the commitment of highly capable and committed students from across the West Bank. After lunch, we drive to Jerusalem and to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a breathtaking view of the Old city and its surrounding medieval walls. We then begin to 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. From here it is but a short distance to our hotel in the Old City, which will be our home for the remaining nights of our pilgrimage.

Day 8: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18

This morning we journey south from Jerusalem to the ancient city of Hebron, the burial place of Abraham and the patriarchs, where we will also see the hideous complexity of occupation and division in clear focus in the center of the city. After lunch we return to Jerusalem and ascend Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, the Day of Pentecost and the falling asleep of Mary, and the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu and recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. Finally we will visit the Israel Museum, to see a remarkable scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ, and the ‘Shrine of the Book’, which will inform us about the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Day 9: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19

This morning we will meet members of Settler communities living in the main settlement blocks south of Jerusalem, to see the environment in which they live, and learn something about their outlook and understanding of the politics and sovereignty of the lands of this region. After lunch we will visit Qumran, to see where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, before having the chance to bathe in the unique waters of the Dead Sea.

Day 10: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20

We will make an early start to visit the Western Wall and Temple Mount before coming to the start of the Via Dolorosa and walking the Way of the Cross through the crowded streets of the Old City towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchure. After a break for lunch we will have the choice a of a free afternoon to explore the Old City or the opportunity of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park.

Day 11: friday, october 21

On this, our final day in the Holy Land, we will visit one of the sites associated with biblical Emmaus, the village of Abu Ghosh, where we will pray together as pilgrims one last time. From here, like the two disciples who encountered the risen Christ, we will return to Jerusalem, to enjoy the rest of the day as free time to revisit favorite sites, pray, shop or just rest. Lunch will not be provided today. Mid afternoon we will leave Jerusalem and drive down to the Mediterranean city port of Jaffa, Biblical Joppa where we will have time to explore this town before dinner. After an early dinner we drive on to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for our journey home.

Day 12: saturday, october 22

Landing at Newark in the early morning, we clear immigration and Customs, and then catch our short flight onwards to Norfolk, landing just before 8am. From here we go our separate ways, ready to speak of all that we have seen and discovered in the Land of the Holy One and to tell all those whom we meet about what has happened to us on the road...

Download pdf brochure