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A group of 36 pilgrims, drawn from the diocese and beyond, sets off on a pilgrimage with a difference at the end of September.

The Pilgrimage, will be led by Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn and his wife Gill, who are pictured by the Sea of Galilee on a previous visit to the region.

They will travel out on September 25 and return on October 7. 

The pilgrims will visit the well-known sites associated with the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and will also visit the Kingdom of Jordan, sometimes called ‘the other Holy Land’.

Here the pilgrims will renew their baptismal vows at the actual place of Jesus’ baptism, and stand on Mount Nebo, looking out over the Promised Land, as Moses did over 3000 years ago.

During his visit Archdeacon Mark plans to post some pilgrimage updates to his own blog site. You can follow those reports by clicking here where they will appear in due course once the pilgrimage has begun. 

Meanwhile, on their journey the pilgrims will visit the stunning remains of Petra, which at the time of Jesus, was a magnificent city of commerce.

The pilgrims are also staying in Bethlehem, which is under the governance of the Palestinian authority, and now separated from Jerusalem by a very imposing wall or security barrier. 

Commenting on the trip, Archdeacon Mark said: “We will meet with local Christians who are the ‘living stones’, and seek to understand what it means to live as a follower of Jesus amid the complex realities of life in Israel, Palestine and Jordan today.

“Our aim is to read and reflect on the events recorded in the Scriptures in the places where they happened and so grow in our discipleship as followers of Jesus.

The Archdeacon added: “We will see some amazing artefacts, such as a Galilean fishing boat from the time of Jesus and hear about recent archaeological discoveries. This will be quite an active journey, with a walk in the desert and a clamber through Hezekiah’s tunnel.

“We also plan to visit one of the very ancient Christian monasteries still in existence, and to reflect on the place of the desert in Christian spirituality. Please pray for us, that we will come back deepened in faith, having walked in the footsteps of Jesus.”



Ronnie Semley, September 2019