JANUARY 13-24, 2022
Led by the Right Rev. Greg Rickel, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
Our Christian tradition holds dear the practice of making pilgrimages as holy experiences of learning, conversion and transformation, and none is more significant than walking the paths of Jesus.
The pilgrimages I have led to the Holy Land have shaped my ministry and my understanding of what it means to follow Christ. I am excited to offer this opportunity to the diocese, and beyond, to journey with me next January, and hope that you may be able to join me in this next journey with Christ to these holy places.
This is designed to be different than a tour or vacation; a pilgrimage offers a very particular opportunity to engage our sacred Scriptures contextually, and to learn more about the foundational stories of our faith. We also will engage people who call this special place home while exploring the realities of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. 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, this year we are offering some additional sites in Jordan including Petra.
To the first disciples in Galilee who were curious, or even longing for something more in their lives, Jesus says, “Come and see,” and we receive the same invitation even today, as followers of Christ. I invite you to journey with us and to “come and see”.
- 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: Thursday, JANUARY 13
We meet in the middle of the day at Sea-Teac airport to board our overnight flight to London. Dinner will be served on board and we hope to get a some good sleep as we cross the Atlantic.
Day 2: friday, JANUARY 14
We land in London in the morning and change planes for our flight on to Tel Aviv. We land mid- afternoon, to 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: Saturday, JANUARY 15
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: sunday, JANUARY 16
This morning we will make the short journey to Nazareth to join with the local Episcopal community in its celebration of the Eucharist in the town that saw the first announcement of the Good News. After lunch we will visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over what is believed to be the house in which the Holy Family lived, as well as nearby Cana, where Jesus performed his first sign. We will close the day with a visit to Mount Tabor, the site of Jesus’ transfiguration before Peter, James and John.
Day 5: monday, JANUARY 17
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 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. From here we make our way to Bethlehem, stopping in the town of Bethany, where Jesus would stay in the home of his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Finally, we will arrive in the ‘little town’ of Bethlehem, situated behind the 27 foot high Separation Wall, where we will sleep for the next two nights.
Day 6: Tuesday, January 18
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 two heart-warming examples of Christian mission in action. At the St Vincent Crèche we will see love in action at the only Christian orphanage in the West Bank, and at Bethlehem University we will see hope in action in the nurture and training of many capable and committed local students.
Day 7: wednesday, JANUARY 19
Leaving Bethlehem after breakfast, we journey south to the major Palestinian city of Hebron, where we will visit the tombs of Abraham and the other matriarchs and patriarchs. We will also see very clearly the hideous complexity of the Occupation and its impact on the people of this city. After this we head towards Jerusalem, first to the Israel Museum, to see a vast model of the city as it was at the time of Christ. Our day will finish with a walk down the Mount of Olives from Bethphage to the Garden of Gethsemane. Tonight and our remaining nights in the Holy Land will be spent at our hotel in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Day 8: THURSDAY, JANUARY 20
Our day starts with a visit to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. We will see the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque and then visit the Western Wall plaza, which is 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 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. After lunch 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.
Day 9: FRIDAY, JANUARY 21
Traversing the Old City to enter it through St Stephen’s Gate, 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 descend to the Jordan Valley to visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and coming to the unique waters of the Dead Sea, where there will be a chance to float in them for those who wish to do so. We return to Jerusalem for dinner.
Day 10: SATURDAY, january 22
Our morning begins with a visit to the possible site of the village of Emmaus, where the risen Christ entered the home of two disciples with whom he had walked from Jerusalem. After celebrating a final pilgrim Eucharist together here, we will return to Jerusalem, and enjoy free time to explore the city, rest or shop. Lunch will not be provided today.
Day 11: SUNDAY, JANUARY 23
On this, our final day in the Holy Land, we will join the community at St George’s Cathedral in their celebration of the Eucharist. Those who will travel onwards to Jordan will leave the group after the service to head onwards to the Border Crossing, as shown in the itinerary for the extension. The rest of the group will have the option of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial or having a free afternoon.
Day 12: MONDAY, JANUARY 24
We get up early to drive to the airport to catch the first of our two flights that will take us back to Seattle, via London Heathrow, where we will land in the afternoon, ready to tell those around us what we have learned in the Land of the Holy One.
JORDAN EXTENSION - January 23-27, 2022
Day 11: Sunday, JANUARY 23
After we have worshipped at St George’s Cathedral we drive down to Jericho for an early lunch, after which we come to the King Hussein / Allenby Bridge border crossing. Entering Jordan, we drive south to the town of Wadi Musa, adjacent to Petra, where we will spend the next two nights.
Day 12: Monday, january 24
We will spend the day in the ancient city of Petra, and learn about the legacy of the Nabataeans who settled in South Jordan over 2,000 years ago. We will enjoy a guided tour down the famous Siq in the morning, coming to the valley floor where we see the magnificent Treasury and other sites. The afternoon will be free for us to continue exploring at our own pace.
Day 13: tuesday, JANUARY 25
Leaving Petra after breakfast we journey to Wadi Rum, made famous by Lawrence of Arabia. We will enjoy a jeep tour of its unique desert environment, culminating in lunch. In the afternoon we return north to our hotel on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.
Day 14: wednesday JANUARY 26
This morning we visit the eastern side of the Baptism Site at the Jordan, to discover its rich excavations and history. From here we go onwards to Madaba to see the remarkable 6th Century mosaic map showing Jerusalem as the center of the world, before arriving at Mount Nebo, where we can gaze across the Jordan Valley to the ‘Promised Land’, as Moses did so many centuries before.
Day 15: thURSDAY, JANUARY 27
After an early breakfast we check out of our hotel to drive the short distance to Queen Alia International Airport, to catch the first of our two flights home to Seattle, landing there in the afternoon.