Event - Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
One of the key purposes of the pilgrimage is to help us better to understand the Bible.
Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land – 28 March to 6 April 2017
The pilgrimage will follow broadly the format of our last two pilgrimages, and will be led by the three Bishops, assisted by the Revd Professor Walter Moberly, who has memorably led the Bible Expositions at the last two residential clergy Conferences at Swanwick.
One of the key purposes of the pilgrimage is to help us better to understand the Bible, in its original context, and Walter is perfectly placed to do this. We will have our own dining room in our hotels, and, for example, I expect Walter to offer some reflections upon the places we visit, following our evening meal, and to assist with our worship.
We plan, as on previous occasions, to charter our own dedicated plane from Manchester to Tel Aviv, which makes the travel arrangements easier.
There is always some uncertainty on the political front, but typically Israel is a very safe country, away from certain border areas (which we avoid). We will visit Bethlehem, and engage with the contemporary situation for Christians in the Holy Land to a degree. However, the main purpose of the pilgrimage is to make a spiritual journey in the land of the Holy One, and to engage with the Jewish and historical roots of our Faith.
Canon Diane Cookson will handle the administration, as on previous occasions, and she is available to offer advice as may be needed. An experienced GP will accompany us to provide medical advice and support.
We are aware that the cost, at £2141 per person in a shared room, is not inconsiderable. Payments can be received in stages, if desired. We are also able to offer up to 20 bursaries of £500 to help those who might not otherwise be able to come. Exceptionally, a double bursary of £1000 might be offered. Diane will administer this.
We carefully considered reducing the cost, either by having a shorter pilgrimage, or staying in cheaper hotels/hostels, but we concluded that the losses would outweigh the gains. A shorter pilgrimage would feel too rushed, and the physical demands of the daily routine mean that having good quality (4*+) hotels is particularly welcome. Such hotels also readily provide the private dining room which we find helpful for evening fellowship, talks and activities.
If clergy wish to bring a group from their benefice, we can offer a reduction: one place at 50% per group of 10, 25% for 15, and a free place for a group of 20.
This will, of course, be the final such pilgrimage which I will lead, and I’m sure it will be memorable all round!