with Katherine Willis Pershey & Val Metropoulos | from $2,195 per person
During this nine-day pilgrimage for women only, you will experience the highlights of the Holy Land including the Temple Mount, Sea of Galilee, River Jordan, and more. Daily yoga and centering prayer meditation create space for pilgrims to reflect deeply on their experiences. Watch the Scriptures come to life as you walk in the wilderness and pray in Gethsemane. Experience modern religious and cultural traditions as we celebrate Shabbat with Jewish Israelies and learn to cook with Palestinian women. All-abilities yoga will be led by Rev. Katherine Willis Pershey, Associate Minister at First Congregational Church in Western Springs, IL. Katherine is currently completing her 200-hour yoga certification and teaches a yoga class in her congregation. Centering prayer meditation will be led by Rev. Val Metropoulos of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Aberdeen, WA. Val has been practicing and leading centering prayer for many years and is currently completing a certificate in spiritual direction.
May 15-23 Daily Itinerary
Group members will arrive at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. In the afternoon, a private coach will transport the group from Tel Aviv to our guesthouse on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. A relaxation yoga session will help you stretch your airplane legs and prepare for a restful sleep. Enjoy a traditional Middle Eastern dinner and overnight accommodations.
After morning yoga, visit the Mar Elias Educational Institute in Ibillin, dedicated to educating Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze youth in the ways of peace. Mar Elias Institute was founded by Archbishop Elias Chacour, author of Blood Brothers. We return to the Arab-Israeli city of Nazareth for the Basilica of the Annunciation, the traditional site of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary. An off-the-beaten-path tour of the Old City takes to local artisans and the White Mosque. The Synagogue Church in Nazareth is, according to tradition, built over the remains of a synagogue from Jesus’ time. Today it is home to a Melkite Christian congregation and offers a quiet place for centering prayer. In the evening, we return to the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight accommodations.
Today we explore Jesus’ adult ministry in Galilee, beginning with yoga overlooking the sea. Highlights of the day include the Mount of Beatitudes, the churches at Taghba, the ruins of Capernaum (home of Simon Peter), a lunch of “St. Peter’s Fish,” a museum with a 2,000 year-old boat, and a sunset boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Close the day by celebrating Shabbat with a local Jewish community. Enjoy one more dinner and the final overnight at this location.
After morning yoga, we will leave the Sea of Galilee behind and head south toward Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Along the way, we will stop at the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan where pilgrims wishing to do so can renew their own baptismal vows. We will visit the breathtaking St. George’s monastery, carved into a cliff face and enjoy an hour-long easy hike in the wilderness around Wadi Qelt. We conclude the day with a relaxing bob in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea and then head to Bethlehem for centering prayer, dinner, and overnight accommodations.
Bethlehem will be our home base for the remainder of the pilgrimage. After morning yoga, we will worship with the Christian community at Christmas Lutheran Church where Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac is pastor and Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb leads the affiliated organizations including International Center of Bethlehem, Dar al-Kalima Health Center, and Dar al-Kalima College. After worship we will join Noor Women’s Empowerment Group for a lesson in traditional Palestinian cooking and then share together the meal we prepare. We will end the day at the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birth and reflect on the day’s experiences in centering prayer.
A brief morning yoga session will prepare us for a morning visit visit the remains of the ancient Temple complex built first by Solomon, rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah, expanded by Herod the Great, and destroyed by Rome in 70 CE. Today the site is also home to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. After leaving the Temple Mount, we will sit on the Temple’s Southern Steps and pray at the Western Wall. In the afternoon, enjoy the Israel museum, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls, an impressive collection of classical and modern art, and four synagogues from around the world restored on the museum property. The grounds and sculpture garden make a lovely site to close the day in centering prayer.
After a morning yoga session, we begin the day on the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem’s old city, pausing to reflect on important moments in Jesus’ ministry including the Ascension, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Garden of Gethsemane. We continue to remember the events of Holy Week as we walk the Via Dolorosa and pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Enjoy some free time in the Old City of Jerusalem before returning to our hotel in Bethlehem for centering prayer, dinner, and overnight accommodations.
After a morning yoga session, we drive through the West Bank to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The site and Hebron’s Old City were recently declared a UNESCO world heritage site because of the buildings, some of which date to the 1st century AD, which protect the tombs of the patriarch Abraham/Ibrahim and his family. The West Bank city has long been a place of pilgrimage for Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike but today is a point of contention. Our tour splits the day in two – we spend the morning with Jewish ‘settlers’ in the city and the afternoon with Palestinian residents. This day of listening in Hebron may help you gain deeper appreciation for the complexity of the relationship between Israel and Palestine. We will return to Bethlehem in the evening for a celebratory dinner and our last night in the Holy Land.
We will enjoy one final yoga session together before group members begin to depart for their flights. Progressive Pilgrimage will organize airport transfers from Bethlehem to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv based on the departure times of group members. Those with later departures will enjoy some free time in Bethlehem. Those who are adding an excursion will depart for their excursion today.
The total land cost for the nine-day pilgrimage is $2,195 per person, double occupancy. Group size is limited to 24 participants.
|Retreat Center Lodging||Ground Transportation||Expert Local Guides|
|All meals||Entrance Fees||Pre-trip Educational Resources|
|Daily Yoga & Prayer||Gratuity for Drivers and Guides|
Single occupancy is available upon request for a surcharge of $350.
Airfare is not included in the tour price. Participants should purchase flights that land in Tel Aviv not later than 5:00 p.m. on May 15. Return flights may be booked for any time on May 23. Travelers may purchase airfare on their own or work with Progressive Pilgrimage’s airline partner, Mission Travel, to complete their airfare purchase.
A $500/person deposit is due at time of registration, payable online via PayPal or credit card. Full payment is due by March 11, 2019. Participants will be invoiced for the balance due which may be paid by check, ACH, or credit card. Credit card payments of the remaining balance will incur a 3% fee.
Terms and Conditions
Please read the complete Terms and Conditions online. ENROLLMENT IN AND PAYMENT FOR THE TOUR CONSTITUTES YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONDITIONS AND STATEMENT OF RESPONSIBILITY.