May 1-12, 2023
There is nothing more powerful in the life of faith than walking in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Land. Sandy and I are delighted to be leading this special pilgrimage with Lightline – an organization that provides us with the best guides and the most spiritually-grounded visits to holy sites. Lightline is also intentional about supporting our Christian brothers and sisters who have businesses in Israel and Palestine and who comprise less than 2% of the population.
During this deeply moving pilgrimage, we will visit and worship in those sacred places where the ministry of Jesus unfolded. We will marvel at archeological discoveries, be inspired by the events of Holy Scripture as they come alive before our eyes, and hear from modern-day disciples who are the “living stones” of the Holy Land, working for good and making a difference in a land deeply divided. Your heart, mind, soul and spirit will be touched and transformed, enlightened and inspired.
I am delighted that my wonderful wife Sandy will join me as co-host in leading worship, teaching and preaching, and that Joey McGee, our extraordinary singer/songwriter from Saint Cecilia’s will join us with his powerful music ministry. There will be ample opportunities for spiritual renewal and fellowship with a wonderful group of people from across the country. I cannot wait to welcome you to the Holy Land in May of 2023.
- All airport departure & passenger taxes
- Hotel Accommodations
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- Entrance fees & local government taxes
- Modern air-conditioned tour buses
- Single room supplement
- Travel insurance
- Any item of a personal nature
Day 1: MONDAY, MAY 1
We meet this evening at Bush Intercontinental Airport for our evening flight to Istanbul. Dinner will be served on board, and we hope to be able to sleep as we cross the Atlantic, heading towards Turkey.
Day 2: TUESDAY, MAY 2
Landing in Istanbul in the afternoon we change plans for our onward journey to Tel Aviv. On arrival we will clear immigration and customs formalities and journey north to the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.
Day 3: wednesday, MAY 3
We begin today by driving north into the Golan Heights to visit Banias through which one of the sources of the River Jordan flows, and where we will renew our Baptismal Covenant. This is also the site of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his great confession of faith in Jesus. We then return to the Sea of Galilee to spend the rest of the day visiting the sites associated with Jesus’ ministry of miracles and teaching set around the lake. We shall visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the ruins of Capernaum, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Church of Peter’s Primacy. We will have the chance to experience our own boat ride on the lake, as well as seeing the First Century fishing boat discovered towards the end of the last century. We end our day back at our hotel, where we will see the remarkable excavations of a First Century synagogue, before having time to ourselves to freshen up before dinner.
Day 4: Thursday, MAY 4
After breakfast we drive to Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign, where he changed water to wine at the wedding feast. From here we journey on to Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s Well, the Synagogue Church. We will also visit the local Episcopal parish and meet its Rector. After a break for lunch, we finish our day at Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration, before returning to our hotel.
Day 5: Friday, MAY 5
After an early breakfast we bid farewell to the Sea of Galilee and journey south. We will drive through the heart of the West Bank to the city of Nablus, biblical Shechem. Here we shall visit the ancient holy site of Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel records Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman, St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and the ancient city of Sebastia. After visiting the Roman and Byzantine ruins we break for lunch. In the afternoon we drive on to Bethany, the home of Jesus’ friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Finally we make our way up through the hills of the Judean Wilderness towards Jerusalem, and on south towards Bethlehem, passing through the separation wall where we will spend two nights at our pilgrim hotel close to Manger Square.
Day 6: Saturday, MAY 6
Today will be devoted to discovering how the gift of abundant life promised in the Incarnation is lived out in Bethlehem. We will visit the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds’ Fields, as well as the St Vincent Crèche, where we will see love in action at the only Christian orphanage in the West Bank.
Day 7: Sunday, MAY 7
Leaving Bethlehem, we head to Jerusalem and St. George’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese, where we join the local community for a celebration of the Eucharist. We hope to spend some time with the Archbishop and/or Dean to learn about their ministries, before going on to the Western Wall – the holiest site in Judaism. After lunch we will visit the synagogue of the Hadassah Hospital, to see its breathtaking windows by Marc Chagall that depict the twelve sons of Jacob. Our day draws to a close at Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist, where we will can sing ‘Magnificat’ in the place where Mary first sung her great hymn of thanksgiving.
Day 8: Monday, MAY 8
This morning we make our way to Bethany, once a simple and poor village where Jesus often stayed with his close friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. From here we will make the circuitous journey to the Mount of Olives, seeing again the impact of the Separation Wall. We will retrace the traditional Palm Sunday route from Bethphage down to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Kidron Valley, stopping at the churches of Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit as we descend the Mount. After a break for lunch we will visit the Israel Museum, to see a vast scale model of Jerusalem as it was at the time of Jesus, and to learn about the Dead Sea Scrolls in the world-famous exhibit known as the Shrine of the Book.
Day 9: Tuesday, MAY 9
Our day starts with a visit to 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 built at the top of an ancient set of steps which leads up from the City of David to what is believed to have been the residence of the High Priest. Here we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life, but also Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus. We then leave Jerusalem and drive down to oasis of Jericho, the city of Palms to view the Mount of Temptation and break for lunch. In the afternoon we make our way to the Dead Sea basin to visit Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea to view the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and to explore the nearby Essene Monastery where the scrolls may have originated. After an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea we will return to Jerusalem in good time to freshen up before our dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 10: Wednesday, MaY 10
This morning after breakfast we enter the Old City via the Dung gate and proceed to the Western Wall and if permitted ascend the Temple Mount, before making our way to the remarkable church of St Anne, close to the Lion Gate and the start of the Via Dolorosa. We will prayerfully walk the Way of the Cross, through the narrow streets of the Old City ending in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The afternoon will be free to continue exploring the Old City or we have the option of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 11: Thursday, MAY 11
Our morning begins with a visit to one of the sites associated with St Luke’s story of the walk to Emmaus, where we celebrate a final Eucharist. From here we drive to the coast to visit Caesarea Maritima, to remind ourselves of how the gospel story continues in the Acts of the Apostles. In this breathtaking Roman ruin, we will remember how this important city saw significant visits from both Peter and Paul, as the gospel began to spread after the resurrection. We will have lunch at Caesarea and visit this extensive site, before returning to Jerusalem for our final dinner together.
Day 12: FRIDAY, MAY 12
We make an early start for the airport in Tel Aviv, to catch our flight to Istanbul and onwards to the USA, ready to share all that we have learned and experienced in the land of the Holy One.