Pilgrimage overview

JANUARY 7-18, 2024

Led by the Very Rev. Nathan LeRud and the Rev. Sara Fischer

Join us for a transformative experience following the footsteps of Jesus and entering the life and thought of Mary. We will encounter Mary in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Golgotha. We will visit the site of the Visitation where Mary sang her prophetic Magnificat, which will inform our reflections on the work of Jesus throughout the Holy Land. 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 or your fifth, we invite you to come and see with new eyes and a new heart.

The Holy Land is a complex place today, and our presence and witness provide hope for the people for whom Israel/Palestine is home. A small minority of Christians represent the “Living Stones,” a presence stretching back centuries, welcoming pilgrims from all over the world to join in Jesus’ ongoing work of reconciliation and peacemaking in this land sacred to so many religious traditions.

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, with a particular focus on Mary. 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 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.

This is Nathan’s fourth trip to the Holy Land. After his first visit, a whirlwind tour, he wasn’t sure he ever needed to go back – but subsequent trips 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. Facilitating others’ encounters with this sacred place has become one of his most important spiritual practices.

This 2024 pilgrimage will be Sara’s sixth visit to the Holy Land since 2017. Each trip has deepened her understanding of Jesus and of Mary, and 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. 

Yours in Christ,

Very Rev. Nathan LeRud & the Rev. Sara Fischer


  • 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 CLASS from Portland to Tel Aviv on Delta Airlines:
DEPARTURE: January 7
-DL378 -Portland/New York -1.05 pm/9.25 pm
-DL234 -New York/Tel Aviv -11:45 pm/5.35 pm (Jan 8)

RETURN: January 17
-DL235 -Tel Avi /New York -11.55 pm/5.15 am (Jan 18)
January 18
-DL827 -New York/Seattle -7.00 am/10.18 am
-DL3838 -Seattle/Portland -11.50 am/12.53 pm

+ 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 - Gloria Hotel (Situated within the Old City, by Jaffa Gate)

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

+ All entrance fees and local government taxes.

+ State licensed English speaking guides throughout the tour.

+ All touring in modern air-conditioned tour buses.

ABSOLUTELY NO HIDDEN COSTS. (The only items NOT included in the tour price are:)
+ Single Room supplement $905.

+ 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.


We meet in the morning at Portland Airport to fly to JFK, where we change planes for our overnight flight to Israel. Dinner will be served on board the plane, and we hope to be able to sleep well before our landing the next day.

Day 2: monday, january 8

We land in Tel Aviv the following evening, and drive to our beautiful pilgrim house on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.

Day 3: tuesday, january 9

Our morning begins in the town in which the Good News itself began – Nazareth. We will visit the Episcopal parish and celebrate an opening Eucharist for our time together, before making our way to the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church. After a break for lunch we will visit nearby Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed his first sign and changed water into wine at the wedding feast. Our day will end with a visit to Mount Tabor, believed to be the site of the Transfiguration, after which we return to our hotel in time to freshen up before dinner.

Day 4: WEDNESDAY, January 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 5: THURSDAY, january 11

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: FRIDAY, january 12

Today we will discover more about the Incarnation and the abundant life it offers the world. In addition to visiting the Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity, we will also visit two wonderful Christian institutions in this ‘little town’. 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.


We leave Bethlehem after breakfast, heading first to Bethany, to recall Jesus’ close friendship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. From here we continue to Jerusalem, to visit the Israel Museum and see a vast model of the city as it was in Jesus’ day. 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: Sunday, JANUARY 14

Our day begins by joining 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 make the short drive to the town of Ein Karem, where we will visit the synagogue at the Hadassah Hospital containing Marc Chagall’s extraordinary stained glass window depicting the twelve sons of Jacob. Our day comes to a close at the Church of the Visitation, where we can sing Magnificat in the place where Mary first gave voice to this hymn of praise.

Day 9: monday, JANUARY 15

This morning we head first to Mount Zion, to visit and pray in the Abbey of the Dormition, and in the room associated with the Last Supper and the Day of Pentecost and. 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, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Finally, for those who would like to do so, we will have the chance to float in the unique, mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea, before returning to our hotel.

Day 10: tuesday, JANUARY 16

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.


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. From here we drive to the coast to visit the ruins of the once great city of Caesarea Maritima. After a lunch by the shore of the Mediterranean, we will explore this site, and remember the inspiring stories from Acts of when Peter visits Cornelius and of Paul speaking to the Governor Festus before being sent to Rome. With these heroic stories from Acts ringing in our ears, we come finally to Jaffa for a final dinner together as a pilgrim group, before making our way to the airport ready to fly back to the west coast.


We land at JFK early this morning, where we continue our journey onwards to Portland ready to return home and share with those around us all we have seen and heard in the Land of the Holy One.

Download pdf brochure