Pictures from the Holy Land

Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Led by:

The Rev. Canon Mark Scheneman
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Carlisle, PA

April 13 – 24, 2015

Trip map


I invite you to join me on this very special pilgrimage in the footsteps of Our Lord.  This will be my sixth pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and I am so excited to return and to share this life-changing experience.  As a colleague of mine once remarked after his first visit to Israel, “It’s a bit like the movie, The Wizard of Oz, when everything goes from black and white to color!”

We will be leaving one week after Easter, so as to avoid the crowds during Holy Week and Passover.  But this is one of the best times to visit Israel with lovely moderate temperatures.

As pilgrims we will be reading the Scriptures in their context, exploring the majestic and diverse landscape of the Holy Land, and reflecting on the larger contemporary issues of this complex cradle of faith.  But we will also enjoy fine accommodations and food, a comfortable and safe touring bus, and the insights of an experienced guide.  I will complete the team, serving as Chaplain and host.  I hope you can join us!


DAY 1, Monday, April 13, 2015 - Depart from JFK Airport for a trans-Atlantic flight on EL AL Israel Airlines to Tel Aviv. M

DAY 2: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - We have come to see for ourselves (John 1:45-46):  Herod’s City-Caesarea, Mt. Carmel to the Sea of Galilee.  After meeting our guide and driver, we head north toward Caesarea, once capital of the Roman province, where we visit the Roman and Crusader remains and the harbor from which St. Paul was taken prisoner to Rome.  We continue toward Mt. Carmel (Is. 35:2), a symbol of strength, beauty and fertility for OT prophets.  Traditionally, Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal is located at Muhraqa (‘the sacrifice’), a peak offering a spectacular view of the Jezreel Valley.  We continue to our kibbutz hotel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 3: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - “He is going ahead of us to Galilee” (Mt. 28):  The Sea; Capernaum; Tabgha; Korazin; Mount of Beatitudes, Ceasarea Phillipi.  We begin with an early boat ride to Capernaum.  We walk in the ancient synagogue and see St. Peter’s house.  We continue to Tabgha to see the mosaics of the Loaves and Fishes and celebrate Holy Eucharist.  Then, journey to the Mount of Beatitudes to rehear the Sermon on the Mount.  This afternoon we travel to Caesarea Phillipi, once the largest city in northern Israel.  It is here that Jesus said to Simon, “and upon this rock I will build my church” (Mt. 16: 13-20).  We return to our kibbutz hotel and visit the museum that holds the 1st century boat discovered in the mud around the sea.  Dinner and overnight at our kibbutz.hotel BD

DAY 4: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - Cana, Nazareth, Megiddo.  We start the day with a visit to Cana the site of Jesus’ first miracle:  turning water into wine at the wedding feast.  Our journey now takes us to Nazareth, home of the Basilica of the Annunciation.  We drive through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo.  This fertile valley, also known as the Plain of Megiddo, has been the scene of horrible carnage and almost constant strife.  Legend portrays this area as the stage for the final battle of history:  Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).  The excavations at Megiddo have uncovered a fortified city built by Solomon (1 Kgs. 9:15).  We return to our kibbutz hotel for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 5: Friday, April 17, 2015 - This morning we travel to Beth Shean to see the best preserved Roman-Byzantine town in Israel.  Beth Shean is located along the old trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.  We continue to Mt. Tabor, the traditional spot of the Transfiguration.  At the summit, we will visit The Church of the Transfiguration which incorporates two chapels; one of Moses and one of Elijah.  We then descend the Jordan River Valley and arrive at our resort hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 6: Saturday, April 18, 2015 - The Judean Wilderness:  Today we drive along the Dead Sea to Masada, the isolated mountain-top fortress about 440m above the banks of the Sea.  Masada was first fortified as early as the 1st or 2nd century BC and then enlarged by Herod the Great.  For those who wish, there will be the opportunity to either climb Masada to the top or to hike down the mountain.  Then we are off to Ein Gedi for a walk to a spectacular oasis/waterfall where David hid from Saul before returning to our hotel on the shore of the Dead Sea for an optional “dip” in the water and dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 7: Sunday, April 19, 2015 - “Up to Jerusalem”:  We begin our day with a visit to Qumran where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  We then travel to Jericho, where we find the remains of the oldest city in the world.  We travel by cable car to the Mount of Temptation to visit the Monastery of the Temptation where Jesus was tempted by Satan during his 40 day fast (Mt. 4: 1-11).  We continue traveling up to Jerusalem and stop for a hike to St. George’s Monastery, an ancient retreat literally built into the side of the mountain.  As we travel into Jerusalem, we will celebrate a Pilgrims’ Eucharist on the Mount of Olives with the backdrop of the Holy City.  Then it is on to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8: Monday, April 20, 2015 - Life’s Bread, Jerusalem and Bethlehem:  We begin our day with a walking tour through St. Stephen’s Gate to the Holy City, stopping to study the model of ancient Jerusalem to orient ourselves to the city.  Then on to St. Anne’s Church, a property facing the Temple Mount, where, once inside, we find ourselves singing (the acoustics are glorious).  Nearby, we explore excavations which speak to us of Jesus’ healing at the “pool with the five porticos”.  We walk together to the Temple Mount Dig, to the Dome of the Rock, to the Western Wailing Wall and the Jewish Quarter.  There we will see the ancient excavated cisterns that were found under the Old City and explore the excavations of the Temple Mount Dig.  We then depart for Bethlehem for lunch at a wonderful Arab restaurant called Two Moustaches.  After lunch, we visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field.  There will be some time for shopping before returning to Jerusalem for a visit to The House of Caiaphas, site of the imprisonment of Jesus prior to his crucifixion.  Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. BLD

DAY 9: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - The Passion:  Palm Sunday Walk; Dominus Flevit; Church of the Agony; Garden of Gethsemane; Cave of the Olive Press; Kidron Valley:  As we walk along the Palm Sunday Path, we will stop to celebrate Eucharist in a private garden that is a part of Gethsemane.  From here we move on to walk the Via Dolorosa, winding through the busy markets of the Old City as we observe the traditional Stations of the Cross.  We end our walk at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, scene of the Crucifixion and site of the Tomb.  The rest of the day is free for further exploration in the Old City.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 10: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - For those who wish, we will attend early morning services at St. George’s Cathedral and then have a full day free in Jerusalem to explore the Old City on our own, shop or rest.  Your guide will offer suggestions.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 11: Thursday, April 23, 2015 - New Jerusalem and Ein Kerem:  We will have a late checkout this morning and then visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and the Israel Museum which houses the Shrine of the Book.  We will also visit Ein Kerem, just west of Jerusalem.  It is here that, according to Christian tradition, John the Baptist was born and lived. We will visit the Church of St. John the Baptist which dates from the 17th century but is built over older Byzantine and Crusader structures.  We also visit the Church of the Visitation which commemorates the Virgin Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, mother of John.  We will visit the Crusader Church at Abu Gosh for Evensong and have a “gala farewell dinner” in Abu Gosh before heading to the airport to check in for our return flight. BD

DAY 12: Friday, April 24, 2015 - We depart Israel at 12:45 am arriving back at JFK around 5:00 am this morning. M

Price: $4,099.00.  Price is based on 25 or more pilgrims, double occupancy.  Taxes and fuel surchages which are currently $692.00 per person are included.  The taxes and fuel surcharges may change.  Roundtrip air from JFK Airport on EL AL Israel Airlines.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement:  $1,139.00

Final payment due February 1, 2015.

Cancellation Penalties
◊ Until January 1, 2015:  $200 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ January 2 to February 1, 2015:  $300 per person plus any unrecoverable fees.
◊ February 2, 2015 or later:  NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, M Meals Provided on Aircraft

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.

Note that Israel is a physically demanding destination.  Good shoes and some preparing for the trip on the stair master are invaluable aids to a healthy and happy pilgrimage.