Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, February 2018

The Baker’s Dozen

On Monday the 5th February 11 intrepid pilgrims from this area and 2 from London, went on a journey to the Holy Land. We travelled to Luton, thank you Blakes of East Anstey, and flew to Tel Aviv the next day. A bus took us up to Jerusalem to the Golden Walls hotel which looks straight out onto the massive wall surrounding the Old Town.

Our programme included visiting the Mount of Olives, the Pater Noster Church , the Garden of Gethsemane and onto the Church of the Holy Sepulchre the site of Calvary and the tomb of Christ. Onto Bethlehem, a Eucharist service in the Shepherds Caves, a visit to the wonderful Bethlehem Rehabilitation Centre, and the Grotto of the Nativity. On Friday we travelled south to Masada and the Dead Sea, driving through the Judean wilderness to Qumran, the site of the Dead Sea scrolls discovery. Masada was amazing, if you don’t know the story look it up on your search engine. Some of us wallowed in the Dead Sea! The next day to the Jewish Quarter and the Wailing Wall and a walk along the Via Dolorosa, praying the Stations of the Cross as we went. A visit to the Garden Tomb, an alternative to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, gave us an awareness of Christ’s Tomb as it was. Sunday worship at St George’s Cathedral , partly in Arabic and partly in English, but we all came together in singing ‘Guide me O thou Great Redeemer’. In the afternoon we went to the Holocaust Memorial to be reminded of the horrors of the last war. For our last three days we went to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, calling in at Jericho on the way and the Baptismal site on the river Jordan where we renewed our baptismal vows by the water.

We visited many of the places where  Jesus had his ministry , Nazareth, Capernaum, Cana, celebrated the Eucharist at Tahgha by the Sea of Galilee, the place of the Sermon on the Mount and then sailed back across the waters.

This was a momentous, affirming visit, wonderfully led by the Revd David and brought to life by charming Palestine guides. To be highly recommended.                                                         

Revd Christopher Whinney