Israel Trip 2017
Latest News: Following the huge success of the tour to Israel in March this year, another tour has been booked for 7th - 14th Nov 2017. Click to download the brochure and booking form. Please speak to Mary Howard if you would like further information.
Israel Trip 2016
During March 2016 a group from St John’s & St Andrew’s went on a trip to Israel. This page is an opportunity for some of the group to share their favourite Israel moments.
"We arrived at Tiberias quite late in the afternoon, after a busy day. But I was full of expectation - the though of the Sae of Galliee, the thought of being able to walk out from the hotel? So early in the morning I got up to watch the sunrise (seen above). As I walked down the street I was excited at the thought of being on the shore. I was reminded of the story of Jesus meeting the disciples on the shoreline with a fire and breakfast. It wasn't actually about them going fishing and catching or not catching anything - Jesus was already there with breakfast ready to eat. It wasn't necessary for them or me to do anything but just be there in the presence of Jesus.
The second panorama photo (just above) is where it supposedly happened, where Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. So you see a picture of people from the group all doing different things on the shore while that story was mulling over in our minds. It looks like lots of activity, it looks like messing about, but during that time there was silence, prayer, conversation, listening to God telling us that he loved us too"
- Matthew Ling
"It was the quiet moments, moments when I could just sit and try to make sense of my beliefs, that meant so much to me. Curiously enough, it seemed as if the environment invited us to do just this amidst our busy schedule.
So, the shot I've included on the right is entirely understandable in the above context. Not a great photograph, but it captures something of my feelings. Amidst all the rush, bustle and gaudiness in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, someone finds time to sit and contemplate..."
"How was my trip to Israel? Fantastic! Not only was it warm (one friend commented on Facebook that I was not wearing a jumper!). The landscape was absolutely beautiful, not the prettiness of England with green fields and pretty flowers, but a real and stark beauty driving through the wilderness. And seeing the edge of the desert, and all the sand dunes, and the sheep and the isolated villages amongst the hills. Showing life in some respects has changed little since Jesus walked this earth.
Which places did I enjoy the most? The Pool of Bethesda, Herodium, Jericho, The Dead Sea Scrolls, the walk down the Mount of Olives where Jesus travelled on Palm Sunday, Gethsemane, The Garden Tomb, the boat trip on Lake Galilee, Ceasarea Martima, The Wailing Wall, the River Jordan where Jesus was baptised by John, The Mount of Beatitudes.
It was the quiet places that spoke to me most like sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane and looking at the ancient Olive trees and thinking “Did Jesus touch you when you were just a sapling?”.
I was far more aware of Jesus in these places I’m afraid. The Church of the Nativity and The Holy Sepulchre left me cold, I had no feeling of the presence of God whatsoever, they just seemed like normal “tourist sites”, I had no feeling of holiness or sacredness.
The archaeology spoke volumes as well the remains of the Crusader Church at Bethesda, Peter’s Mother-in-Law’s house at Capernaum and the Synagogue next door.
Would I go again? Most definitely but to see different places"
- Sue Banyard
"When I was in Israel two years ago"... my fellow travellers must have been fed up with hearing me say this, but it had a massive effect on my trip in March of this year. In October 2013, I was blessed to be invited by my sister to join her church on "A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land" led by her vicar. Revisiting was an amazing experience. This time it was with my own church friends, with the exceptional leading, teaching and caring of Paul & Jane Keeys and most importantly I had already processed many of the first confusing reactions to much of what is experienced.
Last time, I wanted to "capture" as much as I could, to bring it home to share with family & friends. This time I wanted as deep a personal experience as possible. So, no camera, no phone, just my Bible, Paul’s teaching and the Holy Spirt... I was not disappointed. Unlike in the Dead Sea I was completely immersed and I am still experiencing the effect in my daily walk with our amazing God. I would urge anyone that is able, to make a return trip to the Holy Land or go for the first time. The Christians out there need our support and encouragement and we can gain so much from the opportunity to walk in Christ’s footsteps... and I know there are other amazing sites we could not include in this year’s programme... I visited them "When I was in Israel two years ago".
I’m including my favourite photo from October 2013, when the desert had no trace of green, as it in the desert, on the Sea of Galilee and some of the mountain tops, that I felt closest to our Lord."
- Cathie Taylor
Reflections in the Garden
Lord, thank you for saving me.
Your grace and love abound,
In deepest water,
In the highest of heights.
Your love is green, golden, blue, white as snow.
Your love is in the sky,
The gnarled trunks of the olive trees,
The stones in the pathway.
You surround me with your love and grace.
My feet may fail but your love abounds,
It does not adjust, it's always there.
Many pathways lead around this garden, where I sit and where you once walked.
Help me follow the right pathway,
Lord lead me that I may follow, guide my footsteps.
Let your light so shine in my life that it warms every corner and breaks through into the world.
Your disciples failed you here,
I fail you,
My tears are your tears.
Your grace - Gods riches at Christs expense - draws me in.
Amidst the hustle and bustle around me,
Draw me in to your haven of peace,
Bring peace, that knows no bounds, to this place, to Jerusalem, the city for which you wept.
Draw me close to you, never let me go, I love you Lord.
- Diana Ray Mathur