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Day 1, Wednesday 14 November 2018
We gather at London Luton Airport for our morning flight to Tel Aviv.
We will be met on arrival and transferred to our pilgrim guest house on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for the first of three nights stay.
Dinner and overnight stay by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 2, Thursday 15 November
We begin our pilgrimage by driving across the green and fertile plains of Jezreel (the biblical scene of Armageddon) to visit the basilica on the summit of Mount Tabor, claimed to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James and John.
On descending Mount Tabor we visit Nazareth, the town associated with the beginning of the gospel message, to see how the Good News is both remembered and lived out today. We will visit the site of the only spring in town, where Jesus’ mother will have drawn water, the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Synagogue Church.
After a break for lunch we will visit Cana, the site of Jesus’ first sign and where we will have the opportunity to renew marriage vows, before we return to our guest house.
Dinner and overnight by the Sea of Galilee.
Day 3, Friday 16 November
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 begin our day with Eucharist on the shores of the lake at Tabgha, before we visit sites associated with the call of the first disciples, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount and the village of the excavations of the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, known as the “Town of Jesus"- where we will view The House of Peter and a partially reconstructed fourth century Synagogue, foundations of which date back to the time of Jesus and is probably the site where Jesus often preached. After a break for lunch we have an opportunity of sailing on the Sea of Galilee.
We will end our day with a visit to the exciting excavations at Magdala, the home town of Jesus’ close friend and follower, Mary Magdalene.
It was a major firstcentury port and specialised in salted and smoked fish and exported its products all over the Mediterranean.
The excavations to date have uneartherd sections of the port walls, a market, several homes, shops and most importantly a first century synagogue that was probably destroyed by the Romans around 67CE.
Return to our hotel by the Sea of Galilee in good time to relax and freshen up before dinner.
Day 4, Saturday 17 November
We leave Galilee after an early breakfast and head south along the Jordan Valley and stop at Qasr al Yehud on the banks of the River Jordan to visit the site believed to be close to where Jesus was baptized by John and where we will have an opportunity to renew our baptism vows.
We will stop briefly for a view of the Mount of Temptation before breaking for coffee in Jericho. We then leave Jericho and drive up through the hills of the Judean wilderness towards Bethlehem.
We pass through the Check-point in the 9 metre high separation wall and enter Bethlehem.
After a break for lunch we will visit the Shepherds Fields and the Church of the Nativity.
We will also include a visit to 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.
We then continue to Jerusalem and check-in to our hotel within the Old Walled City.
Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 5, Sunday 18 November
We leave our hotel after breakfast and drive to St George’s Anglican Cathedral to join members of the local community for Sunday Worship.
Late morning we will drive to the Israel Museum in west Jerusalem to visit the Shrine of the Book and the amazing scaled model of Jerusalem based around the time of Jesus.
After a break for lunch we leave Jerusalem and drive down into the Dead Sea basin, the lowest point on the earth’s surface (1,388 feet below sea level).
We begin by visiting Qumran to view the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd and to view the excavated monastery of the Essene community which may have produced the famous scrolls.
There will then be an opportunity to bathe in the unique mineralladen waters of the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem.
Dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 6, Monday 19 November
Today on leaving the hotel we drive up to the summit of the Mount of Olives and stop briefly for a breathtaking view of the Old City and its beautiful medieval walls.
We then trace Jesus’ Palm Sunday journey from Bethphage down the mountain.
We will stop at two churches on the way, the Church of Dominus Flevit and the Church of the Pater Noster before reaching the Garden of Gethsemane and the profoundly moving Church of the Agony.
We will spend some time here and in the adjacent Garden.
Late morning we drive up Mount Zion to visit 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.
Many believe that Jesus himself was led up these steps to his trial by the authorities after his arrest.
Here we will celebrate the Eucharist, as we recall not only Jesus’ incarceration over the last night of his life but also Peter’s faithless threefold denial of Jesus.
After a break for lunch we drive to the village of Ein Karem, believed to have been 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.
Return to our Jerusalem hotel in good time for dinner. Overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 7, Tuesday 20 November
After an early breakfast we leave our hotel and drive around to the Dung gate and proceed through to the Western Wall, a section of the original retaining wall of the second temple esplanade which is the holiest site in Judaism.
If we are permitted we will ascend the Temple Mount to view the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque.
We then make our way to the remarkable church of St Anne and the Pools of Bethesda, which we will visit before coming to the start of the Via Dolorosa.
Here we will celebrate the Eucharist, and then wind our way through the narrow alleys of the Old City following the traditional Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) culminating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Our last afternoon will be free to relax, shop in the souks of the Old city or we have the option of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum or the Garden Tomb. Farewell dinner and overnight stay in Jerusalem.
Day 8, Wednesday 21 November
After breakfast and packing our bags, we will head west towards the Mediterranean and Tel Aviv airport, stopping at the town of Abu Ghosh, one of the possible sites of Emmaus, to celebrate a final Eucharist together before heading on to the airport for our journey home to tell all those whom we meet about what has happened to us on the road…
Please note; this touring programme may be subject to minor local amendments.