February 3-14, 2020
Diocese of Southern Virginia
Once again, it is my joy to invite you to join me in the spring of 2020 for our second Diocesan pilgrimage to the “Land of the Holy One.” For a number of years I have been making trips to Israel and Palestine for the purpose of both pilgrimage and building relationships. In coordination with Lightline Pilgrimages we have developed a splendid pilgrimage. If you choose to be one of our 2020 pilgrims you will have an incredible opportunity to both renew your faith and expand your knowledge of the land where Jesus lived out his ministry. Quite literally, you will be walking in the places where Jesus walked, and you will be experiencing the world that our Lord experienced. In my opinion, there is no substitute for engagement with the sights, feels, and sounds of this sacred land – many of which have not changed for thousands of years. As pilgrims, locations and sites such as Bethlehem, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and the Garden of Gethsemane will transcend the mere points on a map to become living symbols of faith. Friends, pilgrimage is a life-changing experience. Four years ago two of our pilgrims said the following about their pilgrimage experience: “The trip to Israel… with Jay Magness and our Christian guide… will always be our most memorable and powerful travel experience. It was a combination of our faith, Biblical history, and the Holy Land. For Christians it takes your faith to a new level and makes the Bible come alive. The trip was life altering — a journey not to be missed.” (Bev and Jim K.)
As was the case on our last diocesan pilgrimage, we can accept as many as 35 persons on our 2020 pilgrimage. If you believe that you want to join a unique company of Christ-followers for this memorable trip, without delay I encourage you to do two things. The first is to block the pilgrimage dates out on your calendars.
Be intentional about this opportunity, and make it a priority. Next, fill out the application and get it in the mail.
Some of you have commented about the cost of our pilgrimage. For an all inclusive trip such as this, this is great value. In fact I expect that you will come to believe that this is a modest investment that will yield for you a long-term life changing benefit.
There is a deadline for your registration: Friday June 7th, 2019. After that we will open up the registration to persons outside of the diocese. Decide soon and act quickly.
- Transportation & Taxes
- Hotel Accommodations
- Tour Guide
- All entrance fees for sites listed on itinerary
- Tour Guide
- All Tipping
- Single Room Supplement
- Travel Insurance
- Any items of a personal nature
Day 1: Monday, February 3
We meet at Norfolk Airport for our flight to Newark, where we change planes for our overnight flight to Tel Aviv.
Day 2: Tuesday, February 4
Our flight lands in the Tel Aviv in the morning and we hope to be on our way to the north of Israel soon after clearing customs and immigration formalities. We will break for lunch en-route. After a break for lunch we drive across the fertile Jezreel Valley and on up to the summit of Mount Tabor, believed by many to be the site of the Transfiguration. We finally make our way to the Pilgerhaus by the Sea of Galilee in good time relax before dinner. This will be our home for the next 3 nights.
Day 3: Wednesday, February 5
Our day begins with a visit to the major coastal city of Haifa, where we have the chance to visit the local Episcopal parish of St John’s, Haifa, and see the remarkable work undertaken in its school, which has won many awards from the Israeli government for its ministry in education. After lunch, we come to Nazareth, the town in which the Good News of Jesus was first spoken by an angel to a young woman. We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church, before stopping in Cana, to commemorate Jesus’ first sign, when he changed water to wine. We return home to our hotel for our evening meal. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4: Thursday, February 6
Today will be devoted to a leisurely exploration of the area that was the base for Jesus’ ministry by the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. We will visit sites associated with the call of the first disciples, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the teaching of the Sermon Mount, and the village of Capernaum. We will also sail on a modern-day version of the kind of boat used for fishing at the time of Jesus and also see the remains of a similar boat which dates back to the early First Century. We will also visit the recently excavated first century synagogue at Magdala, the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, before returning to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 5: Friday, February 7
Leaving the beauty and tranquillity 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 9-metre high Separation Wall, where we will sleep for the next two nights. Dinner and overnight stay by Manger Square in Bethlehem.
Day 6: Saturday, February 8
This morning we begin with a visit to the Church of the Nativity the oldest intact church building in Christendom, before continuing to the Shepherds’ Fields in nearby Beit Sahour. The rest of the day will be devoted to visiting Christian institutions endeavouring to bring something of the abundant life promised in the gospel to those living under the restrictions of the Occupation. We hope to visit the St. Vincent Creche/Orphanage - the only facility of its kind in the West Bank, offering Christian love and compassion to over forty abandoned babies and small children. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight stay by Manger Square in Bethlehem.
Day 7: Sunday, February 9
This morning we check out of our hotel and drive to Jerusalem to attend the principal Sunday Eucharist at St George’s Episcopal Cathedral. Late morning we drive to the Haddasah hospital synagogue to view the famous Marc Chagall windows. In the afternoon we drive to Ein Karem, the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth and thus the site of the birth of John the Baptist and of the encounter between Elizabeth and Mary, when Magnificat was first sung. We then return to Jerusalem and check-in to our hotel situated within the Old Walled City in good time to unpack before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8: Monday, February 10
After breakfast we journey south from Jerusalem to the ancient city of Hebron, the burial place of Abraham and the patriarchs, where we will also see the hideous complexity of occupation and division in clear focus in the centre of the city. After a break for lunch we return to Jerusalem and drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a breathtaking view of the Old city and its surrounding medieval walls. We then begin to trace Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage, down the mountain, stopping at two churches on the way, before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane, and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 9: Tuesday, February 11
This morning 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. After lunch we return to Jerusalem and ascend Mount Zion to visit sites associated with the Last Supper, the Day of Pentecost and the falling asleep of Mary, before finishing our day at the church of St Peter in Gallicantu and recalling Peter’s betrayal of Jesus. Return to our hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 10: Wednesday, February 12
We will make an early start to visit the Western Wall and Temple Mount before coming to the start of the Via Dolorosa and walking the Way of the Cross through the crowded streets of the Old City towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchure. After a break for lunch we will have the choice a of a free afternoon to explore the Old City or the opportunity of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum and Park. Return to our hotel in good time to freshen up before dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 11: Thursday, February13
After breakfast we drive to the town of Abu Gosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus to celebrate a final Eucharist together. We then return to Jerusalem for time to pack our bags. No lunch is included today. Late afternoon we leave Jerusalem and drive down to the Mediterranean city port of Jaffa, Biblical Joppa where we will have time to explore this town before dinner. After an early dinner we drive on to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for our journey home.
Day 12: Friday, February 14
Our plane lands back in Newark in the early morning and connects with our onward flight to Norfolk where and we go our separate ways, ready to speak of all that we have seen and discovered in the Land of the Holy One and to tell all those whom we meet.