Our Holy Land Trip for 2019 now begins.   Marti joins me this year along with my friend and companion on this journey for many years, the Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, Bishop of Northern California.   We are also led by the Very Rev. Dominic Barrington, Dean of St. James’ Cathedral in Chicago and the Very Rev. Paul Kennington, Dean-Emeritus of Montreal and now overseeing a parish in East London, who I was blessed to co-lead with last year.   We have about 15 Olympians joining us other than Marti and myself, and about 36 of us in all.

Marti and I arrived in Jerusalem via London on the 16th.  We stayed one night at Heathrow Airport before flying on and I have to say, it was surreal being in London on the same day as the Brexit vote.  We flew on the next day to Jerusalem, landing in a thunderstorm, a bit rare for this time of year, and one the pilot told us had been greatly underestimated.  For the first time in all my flying our plane was struck by lightening not once, but twice before landing.  Good ole Boeing planes are built to take it.  As the pilot, standing with us in baggage claim after, proclaimed, engineers built it so you can find the exact point of entry of the lightening bolt, and the exact exit.   While we landed safely, unfortunately, those hoping to go out on that plane were disappointed as British Air took it out of service for further investigation.   With the storms came first, rain, then snow, the more lightening and thunder.  A rare sight.  Here are a few videos of our first night in Jerusalem.

The weather is supposed to get much better and stay that way for the rest of our trip.  On the way from the airport we literally passed the bus carrying the Rev. Sara Fischer, and the Rev. Rob Rhodes and the other bus load of pilgrims from Olympia just finishing their pilgrimage.   In fact, as I write this now, we are on their bus, traveling back to the airport to pick up our pilgrims, who passed Sara and Rob and her group somewhere over the Atlantic.   The sign for their pilgrimage still in the window.

We picked up our tired but excited bunch at Tel Aviv and began our several hour journey to the Galilee where we will spend the first three days of our pilgrimage, stopping first to east lunch

hl 2019 first meal

and then traveling to Mt. Tabor and the Chapel of the Transfiguration, where I was honored to preside, and Bishop Beisner preached.  We both challenged our new sojourner to decide between being a tourist and a pilgrim, quite different things.   By the time we made it to the mountain it was clear and beautiful.

hl 2019 transfig

We then visited Cana of Galilee, and then on we took our weary bunch to Pilgerhaus, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee for our first dinner together and some much needed rest.   This is such a beautiful site and I know many among us were glad to see it.  It is good to be back and again walking in the footsteps of Jesus.   More to come!  Keep us all in your prayers.