Pilgrimage overview

JANUARY 6-17, 2024

Led by the Right Rev. Greg Rickel & the Right Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple

With an optional extension to Jordan

Greetings, future pilgrims, 

 Our Christian tradition holds dear the practice of making pilgrimages as holy experiences of learning, conversion and transformation. None is more significant than walking the paths of Jesusthroughout the Holy Land. The two of us may have stepped back from our former duties as bishops in Washington (Greg) and North Carolina (Anne), but each of us continues to hold a passion for sharing our love of Jerusalem, the Galilee and the Holy Land with others. Between the two of us we have led fifteen pilgrimages and now we are teaming up for another one this winter.

A pilgrimage is purposely designed to be different from a tour or vacation. It offers a very particular opportunity to engage our sacred Scriptures contextually, and to learn more about the foundational stories of our faith. Pilgrimage also welcomes the past into conversation with the present. In this case, we will visit and pray and reflect in the places walked by Jesus and his followers. We will also engage people who call this special place home and live in the daily realities of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

These pilgrimages to the Holy Land have shaped our ministries and understanding of what it means to follow Christ. We are excited to offer this opportunity to friends and colleagues across the country and we hope that you will join us in this next journey with Christ to these holy places. 

As we journey together, we will worship with our sisters and brothers in Christ in local Episcopal churches, and we will celebrate the Eucharist at holy sites that bear witness to Jesus’ ministry in those same places. Additionally, we are offering the option to extend your time and visit sites in Jordan including Petra, a most amazing place that truly is one of the seven wonders of the world.   

 To the first disciples in Galilee who were curious, or even longing for something more in their lives, Jesus said, “Come and see.” That same invitation is open today. If you follow Jesus or if you are just curious to know more about Jesus, we invite you to journey with us and to “come and see.”  

+Greg  &  +Anne



  • Airfare (for details & restrictions, please download the brochure below)
  • 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


SCHEDULED FLIGHTS ECONOMY CLASSS from class from New York to Tel Aviv on United:
DEPARTURE: January 6
-UA84 -New York/Tel Aviv -3.55 pm/9.20 am (Jan 7)

RETURN: January 16
-UA91 -Tel Aviv/New York -11.10 pm/4.25 am (Jan 17)

(Please note the above flights and times are subject to change.)
Connections can be arranged from any airport served by United, and should be arranged through Lightline to ensure your travel is all on one ticket (to protect against delays or missed connections). Please indicate on the booking form your preferred departure airport, and we will let you know a price for the connecting flights.

+ All airport departure & passenger taxes (US & Israel)

+ En Suite accommodation at Christian pilgrim hotels & guest houses
Galilee - Pilgerhaus (Benedictine guest house by the Sea of Galilee)
Bethlehem - Sunrise (A recently opened hotel a short walk from Manger Square)
Jerusalem - Ambassador Boutique (A newly renovated hotel close to St. George’s Episcopal Cathedral)

+ Full board throughout (breakfast, lunch & dinner daily).

+ State licensed English speaking guides throughout the tour.

ABSOLUTELY NO HIDDEN COSTS. (The only items NOT included in the tour price are:)
+ Single Room supplement $995.
+ A travel/trip insurance policy is required for participation in this pilgrimage. This must cover you for cancelation before departure, and for medical and emergency transportation requirements while on the pilgrimage. Lightline is an agent for Allianz Global Assistance and we will give you a quotation for a policy when you book for the pilgrimage.
+ Any items of a personal nature.


Our flight to Tel Aviv departs from Newark mid afternoon. Dinner will be served soon after take off, and we hope to be able to sleep as we cross the Atlantic.


We land in Tel Aviv the following morning, where we will be met by our guide and driver, who will drive us north to the Galilee. After stopping for lunch, we will visit Mount Tabor, where we can enjoy Sunday worship at the site believed by many to be the place of the Transfiguration. From here we will go onwards to our pilgrim hotel located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.


This morning we will visit Nazareth, where the Good News was first proclaimed by angel Gabriel to Mary. We will celebrate a Eucharist in the local Episcopal church as well as visiting the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church before breaking for lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the ruins of Sepphoris – once an important city in the region, which contains a fascinating legacy from Roman and Byzantine times.


Today we will devote ourselves to the events of Jesus’ ministry of healing and teaching around the home he chose in Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. We will visit Capernaum itself, as well as sites associated with the Beatitudes, the commissioning of Peter, and the feeding of the Five Thousand. We will go out in a boat on the lake, and we will visit the First Century synagogue in Magdala, the home town of ‘the apostle to the apostles’, Mary Magdalene.

Day 5: wednesday, january 10

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 will journey to the River Jordan to renew our Baptismal Covenant, before carrying on to the ‘little town’ of Bethlehem, situated behind the 27 foot high Separation Wall, where we will sleep for the next two nights.

Day 6: thursday, January 11

Our morning begins with a visit to the city of Hebron, one of the most important Palestinian cities in the southern West Bank. Here we will visit the Tombs of the Patriarchs, and get a clear sense of the impact of the Occupation on the life of this historic place. Returning to Bethlehem, we will visit the Shepherds’ Fields and stop for lunch at the delightful Tent Restaurant, before ending our day with a visit to the Church of the Nativity.

Day 7: friday, january 12

This morning we will visit two institutions devoted to showing the local community the abundant life which Jesus offers the world. The first is the St. Vincent Orphanage/ Creche, which is the only Christian orphanage in the West Bank, and which provides love and support for around fifty abandoned children. We will also visit Bethlehem University, and learn of its excellent work with young adults in the region. After lunch we will visit Bethany before descending the Mount of Olives visiting the churches which celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, the giving of the Lord’s Prayer and Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Finally we come to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of the Agony, where we recall Jesus’ betrayal and arrest. From here we make our way to our hotel in east Jerusalem, which will be our home for the remainder of our pilgrimage.

Day 8: saturday, january 13

Our day starts with a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Jews. From here we go to the Israel Museum, to see a remarkable scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, and the Shrine of the Book, which relates the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls. After lunch we ascend to Mount Zion, to visit and pray in the Abbey of the Dormition, the room associated with the Last Supper and the Day of Pentecost. Our afternoon closes at the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, built on what is believed to be the High Priest’s palace, in which Jesus was imprisoned on the last night of his life.


Our day begins with an early morning visit to the Temple Mount, where we can see (but not enter) the iconic Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Returning to our hotel, we will then join the Episcopal community at St. George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem – the Mother Church of the diocese. After worshipping with our brother and sister Episcopalians, we hope to have a little time with the Archbishop or one of his staff before making a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Jews. After lunch, we will visit the Hadassah Hospital to see the windows of its synagogue, designed by Marc Chagall, and representing the twelve sons of Jacob, before finishing our day at the beautiful village of Ein Karem, believed to be the home of the parents of John the Baptist. Here we can sing Magnificat in the place where Mary gave voice to this hymn.before finishing our day at the beautiful village of Ein Karem, believed to be the home of the parents of John the Baptist. Here we can sing Magnificat in the place where Mary gave voice to this hymn.


This morning will be spent in the heart of the Old City, which we will enter through the Lion’s Gate. From here we come to St. Anne’s church and the pools of Bethesda, after which we make our way to the Ecce Homo Convent, and after celebrating the Eucharist, we will walk prayerfully along the Via Dolorosa, until we come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and remember Christ’s death and burial. After lunch, we will visit some of the Israeli settlements south of Jerusalem, to learn something of the point of view of those who live in them.


This morning we will journey seven miles out of Jerusalem, retracing the possible steps of two disciples who wearily walked to the village of Emmaus while in conversation with someone they did not recognize at first. At the village of Abu Ghosh we will have a chance to celebrate the Resurrection and recall Luke’s wonderful story. After this, like the two disciples, we will return to Jerusalem. For those who wish to go to Jordan, they will head onwards to the border and continue on an extension program. The rest of the group will have free time in Jerusalem until late afternoon, when we will head to Jaffa for a final meal by the Mediterranean, before our late night flight back to Newark.


We land at Newark in the early morning, ready to go onwards and share with our family and friends all we have seen and learned in the Land of the Holy One.

Download pdf brochure