As many of you know, I have strongly urged all seminarians to visit the Holy Land before Ordination to the Priesthood.   This week we left on our first, of what I hope will be regular, such pilgrimages.  We arrived after the very long flight (10 hours) from JFK in New York on January 16th.  There are 14 of us from Olympia and about 23 others, mostly from Northern California but also from Navajoland, El Camino Real, and Federal Ministries.   Bishop Barry Beisner of Northern California and I are co-leaders assisted by Bishop Jay Magness, Suffragan Bishop for Federal Ministries.

Pilgrim Group

We are traveling by bus, replete with an excellent guide and a driver.   We traveled from Tel Aviv to the Sea of Galilee at a place called Pilgerhaus, which is a great and beautiful place right on the shore and within walking distance to the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes (where we celebrated Eucharist today), the Church of the Beatitudes, where Jesus preached that sermon, and Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”  (Again, we were here today, while I realized that this day marks my 17th anniversary of ordination to the Priesthood, on the Feast of the Confession of Peter.  We also visited Capernaum which is not far from where we are staying either.  We took a boat ride out on the Sea this afternoon.  The weather has been truly remarkable, sunny, in the mid 60s.

imageWorship at Mt. Tabor

The day before, our first full day, we went to Mt. Tabor, purported sight of the Transfiguration, to Nazareth to the Church of the Annunciation, Church of St. Joseph and the Synagogue Church.  We also visited Megiddo, or Armageddon.

By the Sea of Galilee

By the Sea of Galilee


Outside the Church in Capernaum, some things are hard to change!

They are full days, and balanced with the jet lag we had, on this night we are getting some first good rest, but spirits are high, everyone is well, and it has been a very prayerful and wonderful time.

Sunset galilee

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee

Here are some more photos, three videos of three of our pilgrims and a link to the Rev. Brenda Sol’s blog about this trip.

The Rev. Brenda Sol’s Blog