Since the early days of the Jesus movement and the Church, there have been pilgrims. Luke’s Gospel tells us that Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” and began to journey south from his home in Galilee to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), where he was crucified, resurrected, and ascended. Likewise, Mark’s Gospel describes Jesus’ and his disciples’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem – Jesus was “walking ahead” while his disciples followed at a distance (Mark 10:32). Jesus was crucified during an annual Jewish pilgrimage festival – the Passover. And the first followers of Jesus encountered the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room during another season of Jewish pilgrimage – the Feast of Pentecost.
The first Christian pilgrim to Jerusalem and the Holy Land may have been St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine and patron saint of new discoveries. In the early fourth century, Helena made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and identified many of the sacred sites visited by pilgrims today, including the location of Jesus’ nativity in Bethlehem and his death and burial in Jerusalem. Since then, the faithful have been making the trek to the Holy Land to draw closer to Jesus by walking in his footsteps and the footsteps of his disciples.
You are invited to consider being a pilgrim to the Holy Land in April 2018. Bishop Stephen Andrews and The Rev. Dr. Robert Derrenbacker are organizing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for the Diocese of Algoma and Thorneloe University. Please consider participating in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the Holy Land with fellow pilgrims. There will be regular opportunities for reflection, study, and worship as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus and his disciples, as well as opportunities for exploring the modern political and religious complexities of the Holy Land (and of course shopping and sightseeing!). We will be hosted by a professional local guide, with Bishop Andrews and Dr. Derrenbacker providing biblical, liturgical and spiritual leadership for the tour group.
In addition, Thorneloe Theology students may earn Theology credits by also registering for THEO 3950 in the 2018W semester. Depending on the number of registrants, bursary funds will be made available to these students to offset some of the trip and course registration costs.
For more information and to express your interest, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.