November 1-12, 2020
Led by Fr. Chris Epperson
Bruton Parish and Friends
If you are reading this brochure, it means that you are in the midst of something special. You are contemplating a pilgrimage to walk in the steps of Jesus, and experience his world. This will forever change how you read the Bible, and hear the stories of faith. You will move beyond just hearing to seeing. The more senses we bring to our journey of faith the better.
I made my first visit to the Holy Land just last summer. I was intrigued in an intellectual way, moved in an emotional way, and cut to the heart in a spiritual way. Words fail to express the depth of the experience. On the way, each of my fellow pilgrims encountered a place that had deep resonance for them. For some, it was the Sea of Galilee. For others, it was the Church of the Nativity. The Garden of Gethsemene was especially powerful, since there is no doubt about the historicity of the site. Each place offered the opportunity to prayerful engage the mystery of faith.
I invite you to come and see with me. I will provide a spiritual foundation for the journey, that might make you more attentive to the presence of God. Imagine a Eucharist by the Sea of Galilee. Imagine sitting in the garden where Jesus contemplated his death. Imagine being near the foot of the cross, the tomb and the resurrection. This is the opportunity. Say your prayers. Come and see.
- Hotel Accommodations
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- All entrance fees and local government taxes
- State licensed English speaking guides
- Modern air-conditioned tour buses
- Single Room Supplement
- Travel Insurance
- Any items of a personal nature
DAY 1: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1
We meet at Bruton Church after lunch for our luxury tour bus transfer to Washington Dulles Airport, where we will arrive in time to check in for our overnight flight to Frankfurt. Dinner will be served on board.
DAY 2: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2
We land in Frankfurt in the morning, and change planes for Tel Aviv, where we arrive in the afternoon. Once we have cleared Customs and immigration formalities, we will make our way north to the Galilee to our pilgrim guest house on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which will be our home for the next three nights.
DAY 3: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
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: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4
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 lakesidehotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 5: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5
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 come to the Jordan River to renew our Baptismal Covenant, before arriving into 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, NOVEMBER 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 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: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Leaving Bethlehem, 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 8: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8
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 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 9: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9
Today we head south after breakfast to visit the Old Testament city of Hebron, a city of crucial importance to the three Abrahamic faiths. We will see the occupied and highly conflicted H2 zone in the city center, visiting the Tombs of the Patriarchs, and seeing for ourselves the effects of the Occupation. After lunch, we will go up to Mount Zion, where we will visit the Dormition Abbey and the Upper Room, before coming to the church of St Peter in Gallicantu, where it is believed that Jesus was held captive overnight by the Jewish High Priest, while Peter denied three times that he knew him. From here we return to our hotel for dinner.
DAY 10: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
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 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 11: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11
On this, our final full 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. In the evening we have our final pilgrimage dinner together.
DAY 12: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12
We make an early start for Tel Aviv airport for our flights home, via Frankfurt. Although it will be a long day of travel, we can rest and sleep on the planes. When we land at Dulles, a high quality tour bus will be waiting to bring us back to Bruton, ready to share with those around us all we have learned in the Land of the Holy One.