Category Archives: Church of England

Holy Land Pilgrimage
Norwich Diocese 2015

 A view of Jerusalem

In January a group from Diocese of Norwich are travelling to the Holy Land, led by Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.

The chance of a lifetime for many and a journey all who want to walk in the places where Jesus walked.

We visit many of the sacred sites but as Bishop Graham said,” We will see them in the context of the present day reality of life in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

We will also go to St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Ramallah for their Sunday worship and to learn something of the experience of Palestinian Anglicans today. Visits to such bodies as the Holy Land Trust and B’Tselem, the Israeli justice and peace group, are not on usual pilgrimage itineraries but will give a significant insight into life in the Holy Land today.”

Follow us on this blog, Facebook and Twitter, as we journey to the Holy Land, touching the life of Jesus and experiencing the life of Palestinian’s today.

Undertaking a journey of Faith...an image
Undertaking a journey of Faith…

 

 

 

 

 


About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.



The spirit and mission of our Pilgrimage

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The David Tower, Jerusalem

The original call for Pilgrimage from Bishop Graham, quoted below, expressed the context and hope for our visit to the Holy Land.

Hoping that we will gain fresh insights into the Christian context of the region, as well as supporting the Christian community whilst we are there.

“This programme has been put together following a brief visit I made to Bethlehem last October. It is designed so that we visit many of the sacred sites but see them in the context of the present day reality of life in Israel and the Palestinian Territories…”

The Pilgrimage is designed to visit the sacred places, but also to engage with the Christian communities in the landscape. Sharing, broadening and growing our own faith and ministry as we travel.

“As you know, the number of Christians in the Holy Land has fallen considerably in recent decades. They long for their fellow Christians elsewhere in the world to come not just to the pilgrimage sites but to visit the “living stones” of the Church there now. This visit is designed to do that and I am sure you will receive a great deal which will inform and strengthen your ministry”.

We look forward to adding to these web pages to illustrate that ‘spirit of Pilgrimage’ that Bishop Graham has enunciated in his message.

Undertaking a journey of Faith...an image
Undertaking a journey of Faith…

 

 

 

 

 


About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.



Getting Ready

Books for the journey
Books for the journey

Two days to go and thoughts were forming on all that we were about to see and experience.

So far books have helped to become more familiar with the places and the time-scales of Jesus ministry.

All of which are well recorded and I have enjoyed further reading to help form a visual picture of those travels.

If  this is your first journey to the Holy Land, then there may be confusions around the images in your mind and the reality of the place in 2014.

But, as a Roman Catholic priest said,

Even if there are many places telling you that Jesus walked here and making claims for his presence in that place, there is one thing that you must do. That is to see the dawn appear over the Sea of Galilee, as it comes up between the dark hills and that first shaft of light hits the water, then you know that Jesus would have seen that same shaft of light so many years ago.”

Revd Sue Martin

Undertaking a journey of Faith...an image
Undertaking a journey of Faith…

 

 

 

 

 


About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.



Sea of Galilee, Capernaum & River Jordan,
Tuesday 27th January

The Sea of Galilee

IMG_1502A day full of wonder and awe the Lake was so peaceful and calm, a boat trip to remember for ever, a Eucharist by the shore of the lake, which was amazingly beautiful..

 

 

 

 

The Boat on the Lake

In temperatures of about 15C we set out  in the boat to the middle of the lake. We stopped , in the quiet and calmness, the places that we all knew from the New Testament were shown to us,  and we saw across the Lake,the places where Jesus lived and worked,  where he carried out the first miracles in Galilee.

IMG_1511We saw Magdala, where Mary Magdalene lived, the place where Jesus preached the sermon on the mount, the feeding of the five thousand, Capernaum, the Golan Heights and much more.

It was so peaceful, we had a readings, prayers and then dancing!

 

The Eucharist by the shore

IMG_1517At the place by the shore where Jesus asked Peter to feed his sheep, we had  our first Eucharist service in the open air under the trees, close to the Lake. The Gospel reading was Mark 4 :35-41, Bishop Graham preached on the abundance that we are given and the fragments of our lives that are to be used and collected, like the bread that we share.

It was truly amazing and deeply spiritual.

Along with others I paddled in the Lake, it was clear and warm and was as unlike the North Sea at this time of the year as you could imagine.

We saw the stone where it is thought that Jesus stood as he shared breakfast with the disciples.

We journeyed on to the place of the feeding of the five thousand and the Mount, where the Beautitudes were taught to the disciples.

DSCF2142Lunch was St Peter’s fish at a local restaurant and we enjoyed some time together. After Lunch we were told that changes had been made to the afternoon plan. Syria had dropped some missiles on the Golan Heights, which were in the distance and too close to Caesarea Philippi for us to travel there.

The reflection of our first day is amazement and wonder.

Capernaum

DSCF2156A beautiful small town, although in Jesus’ time it would have been busier. It was where Peter lived with his mother in law, and very close to the synagogue. We saw the remains of the actual room where Jesus would have spent time with Peter.

The synagogue was built in 4AD so would have been there in Jesus time, an amazing experience. There are now several built areas around and although well done, I preferred the space to gaze over the Lake, which was calm and quiet, apart from the distant sound of fighter planes and helicopters. Quite surreal.

River Jordan

It took us about 30 minutes in the coach to arrive at the site of the baptism of Jesus. The River Jordan, as it leaves the Sea of Galilee towards the Dead Sea, is in a gently sided valley, with trees and grass slope. We sat and watched and we renewed our baptismal vows and watched others immersing themselves in the water.

As we sat and watched the river, a flock of birds flew swiftly passed, and followed by a tailing different bird, rapidly trying to catch up with them.

At the day’s end  we said Evening Prayer, talked a little and shared supper together.

Undertaking a journey of Faith...an image
Undertaking a journey of Faith…

 

 

 

 

 


About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.



Bethlehem, Holy Land Trust, Jerusalem, Western Wall, King David’s Tomb…Thursday 29th January 2015

Bethlehem, the Holy Land Trust, Jerusalem, Mount Zion, the Western Wall, King David’s tomb and the Dormition of Our Lady, and the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala

 Holy Land Trust

m_IMG_1577This is a non profit organisation  for Palestinian Christians,  and we listened to Sami Awad, the executive director. He explained the reasoning for the organisation, the aims and the reality of life in the Palestinian Territories in Bethlehem.

Although we had already seen the wall the previous night as we crossed the checkpoint into Bethlehem, it was an enormous shock to hear about people’s lives, everyday problems from living in an enclave, and deeper problems about non representation.

The Holy Land Vision is to achieve a lasting and just peace,  and all details are to be found on their website; www.holylandtrust.org.

This blog is not the place to go further and there is little time to write all that I would like to about all that we heard in that hour.m_IMG_1586

A quote from Sami,” My grandmother on my father’s side was the greatest person in my life. She lost everything, her husband, her sons and family…’ but she said,” …as a family, we will not seek revenge, we will seek reconciliation.” And there the seed was planted.

m_IMG_1599We went to the Aida camp and Marwan gave a passionate description of life there, on the inner side of the wall. The photos give a clear picture of the scene. And as we stood and listened, a small girl came and brought bags of rubbish at the site near the wall. Perhaps the most poignant was the small boy, aged about three or four in his ‘wellies’, who just wandered in and out of the skips, looking for something to play with and then found some old planks with nails in.

Maybe I shall never forget the sight of the bullet holes in the upper storeys of the flat. The drawn curtains as they were considered to be too close to the wall and were not able to look over the other side.

m_IMG_1583On a section of the wall there were the names of  lost children from the battle in July 2014, last yea. A stark reminder of the injustice that is happening. At times people cannot get through the checkpoint, they cannot find work so easily and …… maybe an article when I’m home will follow. It’s not easy to put in words the stark reality and mood in this place.

King David’s tomb

We traveled to Jerusalem on the coach, through the checkpoint and a mile along the road. We walked into the Jewish quarter to King David’s tomb. Women and men had separate entrances and this was our first venture into Jerusalem. For the women there was just a small room and an elaborate black velvet and gold cover over the ancient tomb.

 The Western Wall

m_IMG_1615The walk through Jerusalem to the Western Wall, the remains of the temple, was intriguing, small and beautiful narrow streets with open squares.

 

But at every turn there were young soldiers, walking to the square. We learnt later that they were going to a ceremony that evening. Quite why they all needed a Kalashnikov was not for me to question?m_IMG_1619

At the wall, again we were segregated and I found women, faces to the wall, chanting and swaying in deep prayer. The men also were praying and wailing, and then dancing too.

The Upper Room

As Jerusalem had been largely destroyed the Upper Room as we saw it was on the site of the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held, and you did have a sense of the supper and the room for sanctuary and safety for the disciples after the crucifixion.

 Dormition of Our Lady

Further on we came across the site where it is believed that Mary was found asleep and died. She had asked to be placed in the same town where her son died.

The Latin Patriarchate

This was an amazing end to an incredible day. Father Johnny explained how hard life was for the 2% of Christians that lived in Jerusalem. The hospitality in this place was very warm and deeply thoughtful. We were invited to Evening Prayer where Bishop Graham led us all in worship.

Undertaking a journey of Faith...an image
Undertaking a journey of Faith…

 

 

 

 


About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.



Manger Square, Bethlehem University,
Shepherd’s Fields, Friday 30th January

Manger Square

m_IMG_1626 Our hotel was a short walk from Manger Square, Bethlehem and was called Manger Square Hotel! At 8.30 we gathered and walked to the square, before the crowds arrived.

It was very cold and we entered the Church of the Nativity through the tiny door and escaped the cold wind. Inside the church was reminiscent of some of our home churches, there was scaffolding everywhere and as they are not able to close the church, the building work carried on.

Interestingly, they still had the most magnificent chandeliers amongst the scaffolding. m_IMG_1633We waited in a line, for 30 minutes, often being told to stay quiet! We went down the tiny steps to the place where the star marks the place which is thought to be the place of the nativity. And there we met Father Johnny, who was at the seminary last night, he and some students were holding a service. It was an emotional place, although for some, the presence of so many thurifers and icons was confusing with the simplicity of a stable or cave.

In the square we made our way to the Church of St Catherine, a relatively recent Roman Catholic beautiful church with caves where it is thought the remains of the children who were killed by Herod were placed.

m_IMG_1629Bethlehem University Campus

Back on the coach for a short trip, we entered the Bethlehem University Campus. We entered the grounds and  the gates were closed behind us. The university was established in 1973, on the site of the secondary school. We met in the chapel, which is dedicated to the street boys of Paris,above the altar and outside at the top of the tallest building is a statue of the boy Jesus.m_IMG_1640

We were welcomed by staff and students, 10 students gathered and animatedly told us of their lives, their studies and their hopes and dreams. It was such a good experience and we listened in shock as they described how hard it is for them to be able to study and  live a daily life at the university,  in the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank.

But their spirits were high and they are all actively working to their finals or Masters, with hopes to travel and to become employed. There are many more girls than boy students and some of the reasons for are that  boys can travel and study abroad, which is very hard for girls to do. Many boys also need to firstly take care of their families and do not have time or money to study.

They made a strong impression on us all and as we were leaving, one of the girls climbed on to the coach to tell us they were delighted to have met us. I think she was also on the way to the basketball court, her passion is to be a basketball player, maybe in the USA. How we hoped that she achieves this.

Shepherds’ Fields

After lunch we went to the site of the Shepherd’s Fields and you only had to imagine the sheep and the shepherds. We went into the caves where they would have sought shelter. As we stood and gazed to the other side of the valley, we saw a new settlement that had been built on the hillside for the Israelis settlers, behind high security fences.
Image 1We celebrated Eucharist and sang O Little Town of Bethlehem and O Come All Ye Faithful, enthusiastically, as we celebrated  on that special day.

The Very Reverend Jane Hedges celebrated Eucharist  and gave the address, in the space of the cave and we all managed to find a space to sit somewhere nestling into the cave.

The address was about sheep and shepherds, and that as we go back into our communities we can be as that good shepherd.

m_IMG_1645
Gazing across the valley towards Jerusalem, it was possible to imagine the Angel Gabriel on that bright starry night appearing to the shepherds.

 

 

Undertaking a journey of Faith...an image
Undertaking a journey of Faith…

About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.



Pilgrims from the Norwich Diocese

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At the end of our journey, we gathered outside the Church of the Resurrection for a final picture. This is a peaceful place and the grounds of the Benedictine monastery has been there for about 1000 years.

Abu Gosh is Emmaus, the place where Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after he was resurrected.

We were at the end of our pilgrimage and  this was a good place to leave the Holy Land.

At the start of our journey we gathered at the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus began his ministry, where he called his disciples.

We journeyed to and through Nazareth and Bethlehem, we stopped for several days in Jerusalem and experienced the sites of the crucifixion and the places where Jesus  entered and walked in the old city of Jerusalem.

We did much more than just visit, but then is that not what a pilgrimage is all about…. a journey of discovery, a time for God to find us and to enable us, with  guided and prayerful direction, as we journey back home and then onwards from there.

Our Pilgrimage Prayer…

God of our pilgrimage,You kept Abraham and Sarah in safety on their journey.You led the children of Israel through the midst of the sea, And by a star you led the Wise Men to the infant Jesus.Protect and guide us as we travel through your Holy  Land, And follow the footsteps of your Son, Jesus Christ. Bring us into the presence of your Son, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life,that we may follow your paths of justice and peace,  And find your everlasting joy.Abu Gosh

Amen…

Rev’d Sue Martin


About this journey?

These web pages are part of the Faith Goes Walkabout family of web sites. Designed, produced and edited by the Reverend Sue Martin of the Norwich Diocese. Supporting the work of the Diocese and communities of faith in the East of England.