February 22 – March 5, 2021
Led by Fr. Bill Miller
There is nothing more powerful in this life than walking in the steps of Jesus in the Holy Land, especially in the season of Lent as we prepare our hearts for the transformation that Easter brings. I am delighted to be leading this pilgrimage with Lightline – an organization that has the best guides and the most spiritually- grounded visits to holy sites.
Lightline also supports our Christian brothers and sisters who have businesses in Israel and Palestine, who comprise less than 1% of the population. During this deeply moving pilgrimage, we will visit and worship in the sites where the ministry of Jesus unfolded. We will marvel at archaeological discoveries, be inspired by the events of Holy Scripture as they come alive before our eyes, and hear from modern-day disciples who are the “living stones” of the Holy Land, working for good and making a difference in a land deeply divided. Your heart, mind, soul and spirit will be touched and transformed, enlightened and inspired.
I am delighted that the Rev. Morgan MacIntire and Pastor/ Musician Crispin Schroeder will join me in leading worship, teaching, and preaching, and that Sandy Carter will also join me as a co-host. There will be ample opportunities for spiritual renewal and fellowship with a wonderful group of people from across the country. I cannot wait to welcome you to the Holy Land in the season of Lent, 2021.
- 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: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22
We meet at Louis Armstrong International airport in the morning to begin our journey. Changing planes in Newark we fly overnight to Tel Aviv. Options for lunch will be available for purchase in transit at Newark, and dinner will be served on board the international flight.
Day 2: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23
We land in Tel Aviv late morning where we will be met on arrival and driven north to the Galilee breaking for lunch en route. After lunch we drive to the summit of Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration. Finally we continue to our lakeside guest house and check in. This will be our home for the next three nights. Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24
We begin today by driving north into the Golan Heights to visit Banias through which one of the sources of the River Jordan flows, and where we will renew our Baptismal Covenant. This is also the site of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his great confession of faith in Jesus. We then return to the Sea of Galilee to spend the rest of the day visiting the sites associated with Jesus’ ministry of miracles and teaching set around the lake. We shall visit the Mount of Beatitudes, the ruins of Capernaum, the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Church of Peter’s Primacy. We will have the chance to experience our own boat ride on the lake, as well as seeing the First Century fishing boat discovered towards the end of the last century. We end our day with a visit to the recently excavated site of Magdala, the home town of Jesus’ friend, Mary Magdalene, before finally returning to our guest house in good time for before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4: Thursday, February 25
After breakfast we drive to Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s Well, the Synagogue Church. We will also visit the local Episcopal parish, as well as Christ Episcopal School - one of the most highly regarded schools in the city. After a break for lunch we visit the village of Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign according to St John, before returning to our lakeside guest house for time to relax and enjoy the lake. Dinner and overnight stay by he Sea of Galilee.
Day 5: Friday, February 26
After an early breakfast we bid farewell to the Sea of Galilee and journey south. We will drive through the heart of the West Bank to the city of Nablus, biblical Shechem. Here we shall visit the ancient holy site of Jacob’s Well, where the Fourth Gospel records Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman, St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and the ancient city of Sebastia. After visiting the Roman and Byzantine ruins we break for lunch. In the afternoon we drive on to Bethany, the home of Jesus’ friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Finally we make our way up through the hills of the Judean Wilderness towards Jerusalem, and on south towards Bethlehem, passing through the separation wall where we will spend two nights at the Pilgrim hotel on Manger Square. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 6: Saturday, February 27
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 the St Vincent Crèche, where we will see love in action at the only Christian orphanage in the West Bank.
Day 7: Sunday, february 28
Leaving Bethlehem, we head to Jerusalem and St George’s Cathedral, the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese, where we join the local community for a celebration of the Eucharist. 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 8: Monday, March 1
This morning 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 9: Tuesday, march 2
Our day starts with a visit to Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, the Day of Pentecost and the falling asleep of Mary, and the church of St Peter in Gallicantu built at the top of an ancient set of steps which leads up from the City of David to what is believed to have been the residence of the High Priest. Here we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life, but also Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus. We then leave Jerusalem and drive down to oasis of Jericho, the city of Palms to view the Mount of Temptation and break for lunch. In the afternoon we make our way to the Dead Sea basin to visit Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea to view the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and to explore the nearby Essene Monastery where the scrolls may have originated. After an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea we will return to Jerusalem in good time to freshen up before our dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 10: Wednesday, March 3
This morning after breakfast we enter the Old City via the Dung gate and proceed to the Western Wall and if permitted ascend the Temple Mount, before making our way to the remarkable church of St Anne, close to the Lion Gate and the start of the Via Dolorosa. We will prayerfully walk the Way of the Cross, through the narrow streets of the Old City ending in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The afternoon will be free to continue exploring the Old City or we have the option of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 11: Thursday, March 4
Our pilgrimage concludes with a final Eucharist at Abu Ghosh, one of the sites associated with the story of Emmaus. After this we return to Jerusalem for free time (lunch is not included today). We leave Jerusalem in the afternoon and drive down to Jaffa, biblical Joppa to visit this ancient city port which today is a beautiful artists colony. We will have an early celebration dinner in the evening before driving to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport for our overnight flight home via Newark.