Mission, January 7- 20, 2008

January 7 – 20, 2008

Monday, January 7th: Travel to Amman Jordan “The Gate to the Holy Land”

Tuesday, January 8th: Arrive in Amman, Jordan

We arrive in Queen Alia Airport and transfer to a hotel in Amman for dinner and overnight.

Wednesday, January 9th: Amman, Mount Nebo
We begin the morning with a visit to the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George to see the world’s oldest preserved mosaic map of Jerusalem. Later, we drive to Mount Nebo, where Moses first glimpsed the Holy Land. After lunch we drive to the traditional baptismal of Christ just east of the Jordan River. There will an opportunity to renew our Baptismal vows along with ecumenical prayer. We return to Amman for meeting/dinner with the local Christian community. Overnight at our hotel in Amman.

Thursday, January 10th: Jericho, Bethlehem
We begin this day by passing to the north of the Dead Sea and crossing the Jordan River using the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby Bridge) into Palestine. Our first stop will be in Jericho, the first city taken by Joshua. In Jericho, we remember Zacchaeus and call to mind the temptations of Jesus as we look at the monastery on the side of the imposing Mountain of Temptations. After lunch in Jericho we travel to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, located since the fourth century over the traditional site of the birth of Jesus, and the Milk Grotto, the home of the Holy Family before their exile into Egypt. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Bethlehem.

Friday, January 11th: Bethlehem
This morning we participate in the Third HCEF Children’s March in Bethlehem. We will march through the streets of Bethlehem with the children ending at the Church of the Nativity for prayers and song. We will share lunch with the children and assist HCEF staff in the distribution of Christmas gifts. After lunch we travel to Beit Sahour to visit the Shepherds’ Fields, where a star appeared to lead the shepherds to Christ’s manger. Next there will be time for shopping at a local Christian souvenir shop. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Bethlehem.
Saturday, January 12th: Bethlehem
Today, we participate in an HCEF International Conference at Bethlehem University. This conference will provide an opportunity to see the university and to hear leaders from the Christian community talk about the current situation as well as opportunities to promote peace. Dinner will be with the HCEF staff at an authentic Arabic restaurant in Beit Sahour. Overnight in our hotel in Bethlehem.

Sunday, January 13th: Jerusalem
We begin the day with morning worship with a local parish. After worship we enjoy fellowship/lunch with members of the local Christian community. After lunch we visit the Western Wall (the holiest site in the world for Jews) and then travel to Mt. Zion to visit the reconstructed site of the Cenacle (Upper Room) as well as the Church of the Dormition (the “falling asleep” of Mary). Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.

Monday, January 14th: Mount of Olives, Jerusalem
This morning our first stop is Ascension Hill on the Mount of Olives, where we begin our walk to the Garden of Gethsemane stopping at the Church of Pater Noster and the Church of Dominus Flevit on the way. After a stop at the Church of Gethsemane (Church of Agony or Church of All Nations) we visit the site the Orthodox believe to be the Tomb of Mary. After lunch we enter the Old City of Jerusalem through St. Stephen’s gate. We visit St. Anne’s Church and the Pool of Bethesda. Next we walk the Via Dolorosa (“The Way of Pain”) starting with the first stations at the Ecce Homo and the Chapel of Flagellation, and ending at the last stations in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is time in the Old City for shopping and exploring before activities with local Christian leaders planned for this afternoon or evening. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem at our hotel.

Tuesday, January 15th: West Bank
This morning we leave Jerusalem to travel to the West Bank. Our first stop is in Ramallah to visit the Latin Church and school there. From Ramallah we travel to Birzeit to visit the local Latin Church and to have lunch at the Birzeit Senior Center. After lunch we visit Aboud to see first hand the impact of the Wall on that village. In late afternoon we return to Birzeit to meet local Christian families, who will host us for dinner and overnight.
Wednesday, January 16th: Jerusalem
This morning the group meets at the Latin Church in Birzeit and returns to Jerusalem. We visit the Church of Peter Gallicantu (“cock-crow) in the Kidron Valley and then return to the Old City for lunch. The afternoon is free for exploring or shopping. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem.

Thursday, January 17th: Nazareth, Cana, Mount of Beatitudes
This morning we depart Jerusalem and travel north to Nazareth. In Nazareth, we visit the Church of the Annunciation before stopping for lunch. After lunch we visit St. Joseph’s Church and Mary’s Well. From Nazareth we drive to nearby to Cana – the site where Jesus performed His first miracle. There is also an opportunity to visit a Christian-owned shop where we can purchase Cana wedding wine. Next we climb to the top of the Mount of Beatitudes for a time of meditation and prayer as well as dinner and overnight at the guesthouse.

Friday, January 18th: Sea of Galilee, Jordan
We begin the day by boarding a boat for a ride on the Sea of Galilee. Next we visit Capernaum, which Jesus considered “home” to see the ancient synagogue and the remains of St. Peter’s home. We also visit Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of the fishes and the loaves, and the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy. After lunch of “St. Peter’s” fish we proceed to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge and our crossing back to Jordan. We travel back to Amman for dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Saturday, January 19th: Petra and Amman
Today, there is an optional tour of Petra, one of the most breathtaking sites in the Middle East. Known as the ‘Red Rose City’, it was capital of the Nabatean people and dates back 2000 years. This can also be a free day in Amman for rest and exploring. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Amman.

Sunday, January 20th: Return to USA

The above schedule is subject to change.