NOVEMBER 26 – DECEMBER 6, 2023
Led by the Very Rev. Matthew Woodward, The Rev. Tom Gartin & the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner
Dear Friends in Christ,
Pilgrimage is a universal spiritual practice. For followers of Jesus, it has been deeply important since the earliest days of the Church. Each of us has personally made pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We affirm that the risen Christ is to be encountered everywhere. We have also experienced, like so many before us, that a journey in faith to the place where Jesus actually lived can be life-changing. It brings a new level of experience in our response to Jesus’ call, “Come and follow me.”
We invite you to join us in this pilgrimage, together with that great cloud of witnesses who have preceded us on the journey. We look forward to being pilgrims together, in the life-changing Land of the Holy One.
- 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 bus
- Single room supplement
- Travel Insurance
- Any item of a personal nature
FLIGHT INFORMATION & INTINERARY:
+ Scheduled flights economy class from San Francisco to Tel Aviv on United Airlines:
DEPARTURE: November 26 -UA954 -San Francisco / Tel Aviv - 7.30 pm/7.35 pm (Nov 27)
RETURN: December 7 -UA955 -Tel Aviv / San Francisco -12.55 am/6.00 am
+ 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.
Day 1: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26
We meet in the afternoon at San Francisco International Airport 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, NOVEMBER 27
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, NOVEMBER 28
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, NOVEMBER 29
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, NOVEMBER 30
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, DECEMBER 1
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.
Day 7: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2
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, December 3
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, December 4
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, December 5
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: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6
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.
Day 12: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7
We land at San Francisco airport early this morning, ready to return home and share with those around us all we have seen and heard in the Land of the Holy One.