A pilgrimage to the Holy Land is to take place in May next year, led by the Rev Canon David Humphries and the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison.
Over the course of 11 days, pilgrims will have the opportunity to visit biblical sites including the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Temple Mount, the Tomb of King David, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Emmaus, Mount Tabor, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.
For the first six nights, pilgrims will stay in the Golden Walls Hotel in Jerusalem, moving on to Tiberias and the Ron Beach Hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for four nights.
The tour departs from Belfast on Tuesday May 16, returning on Friday May 26. The cost per person will be £2,985, with a reduced rate of £2,805 for anyone booking before October 31.
An information day will be held in St Bride’s Parish Church, Kilbride, on Saturday October 1 from 11am until 4pm. This will feature displays and videos of sites that will be included in the pilgrimage. There will also be the opportunity to talk to those who have visited the Holy Land in the past, and to sample an Israeli lunch.
Canon Humphries, who has been rector of Kilbride since 2016, has been leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land for almost 25 years.
The last ‘bishop-led’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land took place in March 2011, when Bishop Alan Abernethy was joined by a group of 80 people from parishes across Connor Diocese for a very memorable trip. You can read some of their thoughts on returning from the pilgrimage below, or visit the Pilgrimage 2011 photo gallery.
This will be Bishop George’s first visit to the Holy Land. Inviting people to join him on this pilgrimage, he said: “I’ve always hoped to have an opportunity to visit the Holy Land for myself and am excited to be joining David Humphries in leading this 2023 pilgrimage.
“It will be wonderful to pray and worship and to read Scripture together – where the events we are reading about took place! I look forward to sharing that experience with those who are able to join us.”
Thoughts on the Connor Holy Land Pilgrimage 2011:
“We really gelled very well as a group and it was lovely to meet people from all over our diocese, some great characters and friendship and fellowship we will hold dear. There were so many highlights, but one has to be singing in The Church of St Anne. Hearing our guide sing in Arabic was so moving, there were a lot of tears shed there.”
“There were many moments and sights I’ll never forget, but the first one was when we stopped by the roadside at the first sight of Jerusalem on the day we arrived, and read the 122nd Psalm – it was one of many ‘am I really here’ moments!”
“Sharing in prayer, Bible readings and worship, we have trod in Christ’s footsteps. Walking the way of Palm Sunday, Christ’s steps to betrayal and trial, standing in his dungeon of imprisonment and following his torturous path to the crucifixion, we were humbled by his suffering.”
“I loved going into Nazareth where we, as our guide put it, saw the hills that saw Jesus play and enjoy his childhood.”
“We will always remember the fun and fellowship we felt throughout the trip and we thank God for all who were involved in the organisation of it all.”
“It has been a very meaningful experience for me – at times disturbing, at times peaceful and reflective and at other times really joyful – and I have returned home feeling challenged, reinvigorated and refreshed in my faith.”