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Christian Pilgrimage: Encountering the Holy Land, Fall 2016

In late October and early November, twenty-five Christian pilgrims from Houston’s Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church traveled to the Holy Land with JPB co-founders, Canon Nicholas Porter and Stuart and Angie Kensinger. Designed to provide attendees with an in-depth encounter of places of great biblical and historical Christian significance within Israel and the West Bank, the trip aimed to bring the narrative of Jesus to life.

The breadth of sites visited by the group extended across a wide variety of geographical and religious areas. Pilgrims visited and prayed at holy sites in Bethlehem, the Judean Desert, the Galilee, and Jerusalem. In addition the group met with different NGO workers, hospital chaplains, and Chrisitian leaders of a variety of denominations that demonstrated to the group how their faith informed them to do great work for God in the Holy Land.

As the group traced the ministerial history of Jesus from his birth to his death and resurrection as informed by a reading of the gospels, their journey began with the the Church of the Nativity, and it ended with the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Traveling to these places allowed the group to truly see the sacred as a concrete reality.

Each evening the group debriefed at their hotel and discussed their thoughts on the day’s proceedings.

“Travel stretches your mind, and having visited the land that Jesus physically walked upon, I’ve realized how it is our duty as Christians to promote peace in the land of our faith.”- Hal Gordon

“Like the stones we saw at the 1st century home of Joseph the Just - the lintel framing the door of the house, a street immediately beyond, and a stone that covered the entrance to a tomb - these are living stones that reinforced our own faith journey with Christ Jesus. As Fr. Nicholas regularly reminded us, "Holy places move." We, too, can become holy places of peace in our joyous, sometimes painful, and blessed life together.” – John Wallace

JPB is excited at the prospect of continuing to bring more groups to the Holy Land to dive deeply into the stories, narratives, and places that shape our faith and inform us to spread the good news and peace to all people.

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