Diocesan pilgrimage to the Middle East

The Bishop of Warrington, The Rt Revd Richard Blackburn, is to lead a diocesan pilgrimage to the Middle East next year.

The Bishop of Warrington, The Rt Revd Richard Blackburn, is to lead a diocesan pilgrimage to the Middle East next year.

Bishop Blackburn is inviting clergy and laity from parishes across the Diocese to join him in an 8 day journey of prayer, reflection and pilgrimage taking in the Galilee region and Jerusalem.

The Diocesan Pilgrimage will leave from Manchester Airport on Monday 7 October and the group will arrive in Tel Aviv. From there they will travel between Israeli and Palestinian areas staying in Tiberias, Bethlehem and Jerusalem along the way.

A key aim of the pilgrimage will be to meet with local Palestinian Christians who will lead the group around the sacred sites and will also visit the place of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, meditate on the Sea of Galilee and follow the via dolorosa in Jerusalem.

Pilgrims will be able to renew their baptism vows in the River Jordan and their marriage vows at Cana of Galilee as well as taking part in services each day.

Bishop Blackburn said today: “It comes as a jolt to realise that Jesus physically resembled the native Palestinians more than us pale-skinned Anglo-Saxons. It is a surprise to realise that Palestinian Christians count for less than 2% of the population of the Holy Land.”

He added: “The wall erected to separate the West Bank from Israel is brutal and menacing – a reminder that the religious and the political are more intimately intertwined in the Holy Land than anywhere else on earth. We look forward to meeting our Christian brothers and sisters on this journey.”

Brochures are available on www.lightline.org.uk or by calling 01992 576065.