October 8-19, 2022
Led by the Very Rev. Nathan LeRud and the Rev. Sara Fischer
“And Jesus said: ‘Come and See.’”
There is nothing quite like waking up on the Sea of Galilee, renewing baptismal vows at the Jordan River, receiving Eucharist where Jesus fed 5000, hearing his teachings read among the stones of Capernaum, or listening to the peal of church bells in Bethlehem’s Manger Square while at the same time hearing the call of the muezzin summoning Muslims to prayer. Whether this is your first pilgrimage to the Holy Land or your fifth, we invite you to come on this post-pandemic journey and see with new eyes and a new heart.
It has been said that tourists visit a holy space and ask questions, while a pilgrim allows the sacred place to ask the questions. As pilgrims, our days will be marked by prayer and reflection. We will sing together, pray together, share Eucharist, and listen to the experiences of Christians living in Jewish-and-Muslim-majority Israel/Palestine. We hope that you will return home, as each of us has in previous pilgrimages, with a new perspective on the Holy Land and on your own place in the community of Jesus-followers that stretches across continents and centuries.
Nathan has been twice to the Holy Land. After his first visit, a whirlwind tour, he wasn’t sure he ever needed to go back – but a second trip deepened and broadened his understanding of Scripture, Jesus and the early Church, his own vocation, and the lived experiences of those who call this land home. He is excited to return and learn even more!
God willing, this 2022 pilgrimage will be Sara’s sixth visit to the Holy Land since 2017. She believes she will never learn everything the place has to teach us. The only thing she loves more than walking the ancient cobblestones in the Old City of Jerusalem before dawn is accompanying others on pilgrimage as they, too, see with new eyes and are changed by the experience.
- 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: Saturday, October 8
We meet after lunch at Portland Airport in the morning to fly to Chicago, where we will change planes for our overnight flight to Tel Aviv. Dinner will be served on board.
Day 2: Sunday, october 9
We land in Tel Aviv the following afternoon, 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: monday, october 10
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: tuesday, october 11
Our morning begins with a visit to the town in which the Good News begun – 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 performedhis first ‘sign’, before closing our day at Mount Tabor, believedby many to be the site of the Transfiguration. Return to our lakeside hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 5: Wednesday, october 12
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 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, october 13
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 the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds Fields.
Day 7: friday, october 14
Checking out of our hotel in Bethlehem, we go first to the Jordan River, to renew our baptismal vows, before heading to Jerusalem, to the Israel Museum, to see a model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. 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: saturday, october 15
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 Qumran to see the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Finally we visit the Dead Sea to have the opportunity to float in its unique, mineral-laden waters.
Day 9: sunday, october 16
Celebrating the first day of the week, we start our morning at St George’s Episcopal Cathedral, where we will join our sister and brother Episcoplians at worship. We also hope to spend some time with the Archbishop and/ or Dean to learn about their ministries, before we have lunch. In the afternoon 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 sang her great hymn of thanksgiving.
Day 10: monday, october 17
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, we will visit one or two of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to meet those who live and work there and hear something of their narrative.
Day 11: tuesday, october 18
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: wednesday, october 19
We land in Chicago in the early morning, and after clearing immigration and Customs formalities catch our connecting flight back to Portland, where we land mid-morning, ready to share with our family and friends all we have seen and learned in the Land of the Holy One.