Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation
Living Stones Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
First Presbyterian Church of Boulder, CO
June 1-12, 2015 —12 Days/ 11 nights
Under the leadership of Reverend Dr. Carl Hofmann, we will visit holy places, give God plenty of time to work on us, and when we return home, we will have the stories of Palestinian Christians – the “Living Stones” of the Holy Land – deeply embedded in our minds and hearts.
Day 1—Monday, June 1st: Tel Aviv
Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land begins today shortly after midnight. After arriving in Tel Aviv, we will transfer to Bethlehem for Dinner and Overnight.
Day 2—Tuesday, June 2nd: Bethlehem & Beit Sahour
We will begin our day with a welcome by HCEF staff, who will teach us about HCEF’s programs in the Holy Land. Next, we will visit Shepherd’s Field in Beit Sahour. This is where the angels appeared to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. We will visit the Church of the Nativity (the birthplace of Jesus) as well as the Grotto of St. Jerome and the nearby Milk Grotto. After lunch we will visit Aida Refugee Camp and meet with some of the families who live there. Then we will visit a local handicraft workshop that was renovated by HCEF. After admiring the handmade crafts, we will learn more about the history of these crafts by visiting the Bethlehem Museum where we will also dine with HCEF staff. Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 3— Wednesday, June 3rd: Jerusalem
We begin the day very early to depart for Jerusalem and walk the Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering) through the narrow alleys and bazaars of the Old City of Jerusalem, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Tomb of Christ. After that we will visit the Church of the Redeemer where we will have a service. Then, we will meet with the Latin Patriarchate HB Foad Twal, then after lunch, we will drive to the Mount of Olives to visit the churches of Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit. We will also visit the church of All Nations, located in the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed the night before his passion. Dinner and Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 4— Thursday, June 4th: Jerusalem
We will drive to Jerusalem to visit the Dome of the Rock, the Golden Gate and the Temple Mount. After lunch, we will visit Mount Zion and the Upper Room, scene of the last supper, and then the Church of the Assumption (Tomb of Mary). We will also visit Mea Sharin, the Knesset, and the Israel Museum and then we will have a meeting with the representative of Al- Musalaha; the Ministry of Reconciliation. Musalaha. Musalaha is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians as demonstrated in the life and teaching of Jesus. Dinner and Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 5— Friday, June 5th: Bethlehem & Hebron
After breakfast we will visit Bethlehem University and meet with some Palestinian students. Then we will make our way to Hebron and visit the Abraham Mosque where the patriarch and his family are buried. Then we will visit the Oak of Abraham where Abraham entertained angels. We will eat lunch and have free time in the Old City. Afterwards we will head back to Bethlehem and visit Mount Herodium. Dinner and Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 6— Saturday, June 6th: Dead Sea, Jericho, and Qumran
We will head to Jericho. In the Jericho, where we remember Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree and the blind Bartimaeus wanting to see. We are also reminded of the temptations of Jesus, as we view the Monastery of Temptation on the summit of the Mount of Temptation. After lunch in Jericho we will visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and then we will enjoy ourselves around the Dead Sea. Dinner and Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 7— Sunday, June 7th: Jerusalem & Birzeit
Today will be a free day in Jerusalem. We will have the opportunity to shop in the market, revisit religious sites, discover something new, or simply relax in the Old City. Before heading to Birzeit we will visit Yad Vashem Museum. Then we will depart from Jerusalem and head to Birzeit where we meet the families hosting us for the evening Dinner and Overnight with Host Families from Birzeit and Jifna.
Day 8— Monday, June 8th: Birzeit and Ramallah
After enjoying breakfast with our host families we will visit Our Lady of Peace, the Catholic Church in Birzeit where we will attend mass and meet the parish priest who will talk to us about the local Christian population. Then we will have lunch in HCEF’s Birzeit Senior Citizen Center, giving us the chance to meet with the elders of Birzeit and hear their stories. Then we will go to Ramallah and visit the Church of Hope there and meet with our brothers and sisters. Afterwards we will drive north to Jenin where will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 9— Tuesday, June 9th: Nablus, Jenin & Nazareth
In the morning we will meet with local Christians and the Parish Priest of Jenin. Then we will drive to Nablus to visit Jacob’s Well, where the Samaritan woman reminded Jesus that Jacob “gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it.” He told her He was the promised Messiah, and she and many residents of her village believed in him. (Jn 4:5-42). Then we will enjoy our free time in the old city and have our lunch there. After that we will visit the town of Sebastia where there is an ancient religious community still active there associated with John the Baptist. There, we’ll also visit ancient Roman tombs, a Hellenistic tower and the Herodion gate towers. Afterwards we will drive to Jenin where we will have Dinner and Spend the Night.
Day 10— Wednesday, June 10th: Nazareth & Haifa
Today we will depart early in the morning for Nazareth but before arriving there will stop in the village of I’billin to visit the Mar Elias School and meet a representative. Afterwards we will reach Nazareth and visit the Church of Annunciation where Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to the Son of God. After lunch we will go to Haifa and visit Mount Carmel (Mar Elias). Dinner and Overnight in Nazareth.
Day 11— Thursday, June 11th: Sea of Galilee
Today we will pass through the Valley of the Doves– “the Arbel Pass–to approach the Sea of Galilee as Jesus would have on his way from Nazareth. In Tabgha we will spend some quiet time along the water, imagining ourselves with Jesus. We will pray at the site of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, and at the place along the shore where Jesus three times asked Peter—and on this day will ask us—“Do you love me?” Next, we will visit Capernaum, which Jesus considered home and where he healed so many and taught so much. Today, the remains of Capernaum include an ancient synagogue and the vestiges of Peter’s house. Then for lunch we will eat fish in mount of beatitudes Monastery and then go aboard a boat for a ride on the Sea of Galilee, stopping to rock on the waves, to feel the wind, and to sing of the one whom “even the wind and the sea obey.” Then we will travel to the Mount of Beatitudes for a time of prayer and meditation on the hillside. Dinner and Overnight in Nazareth.
Day 12—Friday, June 12th: Return Home
After an early morning check-out and transfer to the airport, we fly back home. However, our faith journey will continue in a new, invigorated way. Having visited the places sacred to our tradition, having met the descendent of the first disciples of Jesus and witnessed how the people of the Holy Land strive to build bridges of justice, peace and reconciliation –we will be enriched and our spiritual lives transformed.
• Worship Service can be arranged daily
• Itinerary subject to change without notice
• The Itinerary includes interaction with the locals
• The Itinerary can change according to your special requests; sites can be added or removed.
• The meeting with Patriarch can be changed referring to his Schedule
To register online, Click HERE!
To register by fax, e-mail, or mail, download our registration form HERE!
To proceed with the payments, Click HERE!
TO REGISTER BY PHONE, OR FOR OTHER QUESTIONS,
CALL THE PILGRIMAGE COORDINATOR, Abigail Galván, AT (301)-951-9400, EXT. 219