Join Pastor Byron Thomas
and Central United Methodist Church
On a Holy Land Pilgrimage to the Roots of our Faith
Sunday, March 3
Overnight flight to Israel
Monday, March 4
Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport
Met by a CHT representative and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Tuesday, March 5
Jaffa / Caesarea / Jewish-Arab Co-existence Seminar / Haifa
After breakfast, visit the ancient Joppa (Jaffa). Here was the house of Simon the Tanner (Acts 10: 9-16) and the place of the miracle of the resurrection of Tabitha (Acts 9: 36-43). We travel north to Caesarea Maritima to visit the Roman Theater, Herod's Palace, Palace of the Roman Procurator (Acts 23: 23 and Acts 26: 23 - Paul; Acts 10: 20-48 - Peter and Cornelius), Amphitheater and Crusaders' City and Harbor. Participate in a fascinating seminar on Arab-Jewish coexistence at Givat Haviva, including a visit to an Israeli Arab village. Proceed to Haifa for a panoramic overview of the city and harbor, hotel check-in and dinner. Overnight: Haifa
Wednesday, March 6
Mount Carmel / Acre /Nazareth / Tiberias Caesarea / Haifa / Rosh Hanikra
Drive north to tour Caesarea, once the Roman capital of the region. See the excavations of the crusaders' city, the aqueduct and amphitheater which has been restored as a concert venue. Proceed to Haifa for a panoramic view from Mount Carmel and visit "AF AL PI CHEN", the naval museum of the illegal immigration to Israel at the time of the British mandate. Drive to Acre; walk along the old harbor and local market; continue to the northernmost point of Israel at Rosh Hanikra. Descend by cable car into the limestone grottoes.
Overnight at a Kibbutz guesthouse.
Thursday, March 7
Galilee/ Golan Heights / Yardenit
After breakfast, we take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus walked on the water (Matthew 14: 22-23). The ride will end at Ginnosar, to visit the Ancient Boat from the time of Jesus that was found here. Drive to the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 7), and continue to Tabgha to study about the miracle of the Loaves and the Fish (Matthew 14: 14-34). Driving along the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee we shall reach Capernaum, where Jesus lived in the house of Peter, performing his miracles and healings (Matthew 4: 13, Matthew 8: 14-15). Through the Golan Heights, proceed to Banyas, the ancient Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16: 13-20) one of the main sources of the Jordan River. We conclude our day at the Yardenit Baptismal site near the southern part of the Sea of Galilee.
Friday, March 8
Jordan River Valley / Mount of Olives / Gethsemene / Bethlehem*
After breakfast, we travel south through the Jordan River Valley for the ascent to Jerusalem. Upon arrival in the Holy City, we ascend the Mount of Olives for a wonderful panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Walking down the Mount of Olives, we reach the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26: 36-58); here we see the old olive trees and join together in prayer. We then proceed to Bethlehem * to visit the Church of the Nativity (Luke 2: 1-7) and Shepherd's Field.
Saturday, March 9
Jerusalem - Masada / Dead Sea / Qumran
After breakfast,we drive via the Good Samaritan Inn (Luke 8: 25-37) to the mountain fortress of Masada, stronghold of the Jews in the war against the Romans. Ascend to the fortress by cable car to visit the palaces of Herod the Great with its Roman baths and pools. Descend for a "dip" and "float" in the salty water of the Dead Sea, the world's lowest place. On the way back to Jerusalem, stop in Qumran, the city of the Essenes, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a cave by a shepherd.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Sunday, March 10
Interreligious Encounter / New City / Old City
After breakfast, we take part in a special seminar at the Center for Interreligious Encounter in Israel, featuring Jewish and Arab presenters. We then take in a panoramic tour of the New City of Jerusalem. At the Israel Museum we visit the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, and the Model of Jerusalem as it was at the time of Jesus. We then enter the Old City of Jerusalem and proceed to the Western Wall, the holiest place for the Jews, and then along the foundation stones of the Temple Mount in the Rabbinic Tunnels*.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Monday, March 11
Temple Mount / Via Dolorosa / Mount Zion
After breakfast, we enter the Old City and gaze over the Southern Wall Excavations, where Jesus drove away the money-lenders. We then walk across the Temple Mount*, where the Dome of the Rock now stands, to reach St. Anne's Church, the Pool of Bethesda, and the area of Antonia Fortress. We then walk in the footsteps of Jesus along the Via Dolorosa (all 14 Stations of the Cross) and, via the exotic bazaar, arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We proceed through the newly rebuilt Jewish Quarter and Roman Cardo and then continue to Mount Zion. There we visit the Tomb of King David and the Upper Room, site of the Last Supper.
We conclude our tour at the area of Golgotha (place of the skull) and the Garden Tomb to celebrate the resurrection with Communion and a time of praise.
Then we will enjoy a delicious Middle Eastern farewell dinner in Abu Ghosh and leave for the airport for our flight back home.
Tuesday, March 12
Arrive home and begin planning your next trip to the Holy Land.
* Visit subject to availability.
Itinerary Subject to Change