This year the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, plans to lead a second diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land from November 12 –22.
Inviting people to join this pilgrimage, Bishop Alan writes in the brochure: “This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the places as well as the texts of the Bible and so to encounter and relate to Jesus in a new and thrilling way.
“We shall find the gospel made strikingly contemporary for us in the lives of the faithful Israelis and Palestinians whom we shall meet and who will guide us through their beautiful and troubled land.”
Bishop Alan continues: “The variety of sites and situations will speak to us all differently, but we shall all be united on a journey together, thirsting for holiness, forgiveness, peace and justice. The journey will also be full of laughter and joy, with profound worship and cherishing fellowship.”
The pilgrimage will begin on Tuesday November 12 with flights from Belfast City Airport to London Heathrow and on to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv. The first two days are spent in Jerusalem, followed by an optional trip to Masada and the Dead Sea. There will be a visit to Mount Zion and Bethlehem, and the Sunday will be spent meeting the people of Jerusalem at St George’s Cathedral, in the city, or on one of two optional trips.
On the Monday the pilgrims move via Caesarea, Haifa and Acre to Tiberias, and the second part of the pilgrimage takes in Jesus’s lakeside ministry, Nazareth and Northern Galilee before the pilgrims depart for home early on Friday November 22.
The cost of the tour is £1,745 sharing a twin bedded room. In Jerusalem pilgrims stay in the three star Golden Walls Hotel overlooking the city walls, and in Tiberias the hotel is the four star Ron Beach on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Brochures and booking forms are available from Dean John Mann at Belfast Cathedral, Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2HB; telephone 028 9032 8332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A brochure can be downloaded here.
Dean Mann led a group of 85 people from Connor on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land in March 2011. Comments after that pilgrimage included:
‘A divine experience. Every step was history and gave a visible meaning to the Bible and the New Testament in particular.’
‘We saw the hills that saw Jesus play and enjoy his childhood.’
‘We will always remember the fun and fellowship we felt throughout the tip.’
‘I…returned home energised both physically and spiritually.’
‘It was a privilege to be part of this pilgrimage, so well organised and led, including the meaningful prayers and Bible readings for every site.’
Bishop Alan said the pilgrimage had inspired him and strengthened faith and hope. “We managed to mix the wonder of being in a special place with the great gift of humour,” he said.
To get a flavour of the pilgrimage experience, revisit the photographs from the 2011 Connor pilgrimage by following this link.
Please note that while there is no age limit pilgrims need to have reasonable mobility as there is quite a lot of walking and lots of steps!