FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 11, 2023
Led by the Rev. Canon Bill Osborne
The season of Lent is a time for us to journey deeper into the heart of God. I invite you to begin your Lenten journey next year on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to walk where Jesus walked and to experience the land that formed him and the disciples, so that we might become more deeply formed as disciples ourselves.
It has been said that tourists visit a holy space and ask questions, while a pilgrim allows the holy place to ask the questions. As pilgrims rather than tourists, our days will be marked by prayer and reflection, letting each experience transform us. We will sing and pray together, letting the stories of scripture come alive as we celebrate the Eucharist. And we will hear the experiences of the “living stones” – the descendants of the original Christian community who live as a small minority in a Jewish and Muslim majority culture, and who will share with us their first-hand experience of the reality of the Palestine/Israel conflict.
We will be supported as we travel by Lightline Pilgrimages, a Christian tour company that is the “preferred partner” of the Diocese of Jerusalem, and that has a long history of leading groups from parishes and dioceses from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We will be staying entirely in Christian-run pilgrim houses, and we will be accompanied by Christian guides and bus drivers who live in the Holy Land. We will visit Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem, the region around the Sea of Galilee where Jesus grew up and ministered, and the Holy City of Jerusalem, where we will walk the Way of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was crucified and buried.
Join me next Lent on this incredible and life-changing journey. I hope that you will return from your pilgrimage with deeper insight into the roots of our faith and with greater understanding of what it means to be followers of Jesus in the communities in which we live.
- All airport departure & passenger taxes
- Hotel Accommodations
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- Entrance fees & local government taxes
- English speaking guides throughout tour
- Modern air-conditioned tour buses
- Single room supplement
- Travel insurance
- Any item of a personal nature
DAY 1: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
We meet in the afternoon at Spokane Airport to fly to San Francisco, where we change planes before our early evening flight to Tel Aviv. Dinner will be served on board the plane, and we hope to be able to sleep well before our landing in Israel the next day.
DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1
We land in Tel Aviv the following evening, where we will be met by our guide and driver, who will take us 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, MARCH 2
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 newly-excavated First Century synagogue in Magdala, the home town of ‘the apostle to the apostles’, Mary Magdalene.
DAY 4: FRIDAY, MARCH 3
Our morning begins with a visit to the town in which the Good News began– Nazareth, where Mary met the archangel Gabriel. We will celebrate the Eucharist in the Episcopal parish, and see its work ‘made flesh’ at the remarkable High School run by the Diocese of Jerusalem. After a break for lunch, we will stop at Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performed his first ‘sign’, before closing our day at Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration. Return to our lakeside hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by theSea of Galilee.
DAY 5: SATURDAY, MARCH 4
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, where we will sleep for the next two nights.
DAY 6: SUNDAY, MARCH 5
After breakfast we drive the short distance to Jerusalem to worship at St George’s Episcopal Cathedral with our sister and brother Episcopalians. After the service we return to Bethlehem to visit the Shepherds Fields and the Church of the Nativity, stopping for lunch at the delightful Tent restaurant in Beit Sahour.
DAY 7: MONDAY, MARCH 6
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 St Vincent Crèche, where we can see love expressed in action at what is the only Christian orphanage in the Palestinian territories. 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 the Christian Quarter of the Old City, which will be our home for the remainder of our pilgrimage.
DAY 8: TUESDAY, MARCH 7
Our day starts with a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the world for Jews. From here 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 morning 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. After lunch we visit the synagogue of the Hadassah Hospital, to see its breathtaking windows by Marc Chagall that depict the twelve sons of Jacob. We also visit nearby Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, where we can sing ‘Magnificat’ in the place where Mary first sang her great hymn of thanksgiving. Our day will finish with a visit to the Israel Museum, to see a remarkable model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ, and the Shrine of the Book, which tells the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
DAY 9: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8
This morning we drive down to the Jordan Valley, heading south to the hilltop fortress of Masada, the great fortified palace built by Herod the Great, and site of the famous siege in 74CE. After a thorough tour of this remarkable site, we visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. After a break for lunch, we will have the chance to float in the unique, mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea, before returning to our hotel.
DAY 10: THURSDAY, MARCH 9
We make an early start this morning in the hope of being allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, to get a close look at the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. 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 make our way prayerfully along the Via Dolorosa, until we come to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and remember Christ’s death and burial. After lunch, for those who wish, there will be an optional visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.
DAY 11: FRIDAY, MARCH 10
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. In the late afternoon we leave Jerusalem to visit Jaffa, set on the shores of the Mediterranean. Here we will have a final dinner before heading to the airport for our late night flight back to the United States.
DAY 12: SATURDAY, MARCH 11
We land in San Francisco in the early morning, and after clearing immigration and Customs formalities catch our connecting flight back to Spokane, where we land mid-afternoon, ready to share with our family and friends all we have seen and learned in the Land of the Holy One.