Holy Land Pilgrimage 2018

Oct 19-31, 2018

encounter ancient sites, current lives, and eternal questions

Imagine . . . 13 Days in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and more with guided tours, reflection, and community. This is your opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime.

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie warns of the danger of a single story.  She says our lives are composed of multiple, overlapping strands.  If that's true in a single life, it's even truer when you come to the Holy Land.  Home to three of the world's great faiths--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--it is also the current site of the complex conflict between Israel and Palestine.  On this trip of a lifetime, you will visit ancient sites: you'll follow the path Jesus took on Palm Sunday; you'll visit the ancient fortress of Masada.  And you'll engage modern complexities, meeting current-day Israelis and Palestinians, working for peace.  This trip takes you not only to familiar sites, but to places that most tours never go.  You will learn.  You'll be inspired.  You'll come to know anew our world of multiple sacred stories.

A UU theologian-in-residence will help ground your experience in our faith, and you'll have many opportunities to engage with people active in lives of faith and peacemaking.

This sounds wonderful: is there a catch?

Yes.  For the trip to be financially feasible at its low price, at least 20 people need to commit by April 1, 2018.

What are the basics?

  • 13 Days, 12 Nights in Israel and Palestine
  • $2450 + $1500 Airfare (estimated at $1,500--you'll receive the difference back below that)
  • Lodging costs are based on shared room (yes, you can request your roommate).  If you want a single room, it's an extra $600.
  • Includes lodging, breakfast, dinner, and transportation within Israel
  • Prayer, evening group reflection, and educational content
  • This trip is appropriate for clergy and laity alike.  Attendees must be older than 16.

Who's leading this trip?

Tour Leader, Rev. Steve Martin: In addition to over twenty years of pulpit ministry within the United Methodist Church, Steve also ran an independent media company for eight years, and for the last several years has served as Director of Communications and Development at the National Council of Churches.  He serves on the Board of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.  A documentary filmmaker, as well as “Elisabeth of Berlin,” Steve’s other films about faithful responses to the Holocaust include “Theologians Under Hitler” and “God with Us.”  An earlier documentary, “Muslims in Appalachia,” was used widely as a resource after the rise in Islamophobia following 9/11.  Steve has led many tours of the Holy Land, visiting ancient Biblical sites and meeting current justice-workers.

UUCF Leader, Rev. Cecilia Kingman: has led Unitarian Universalist pilgrimages for nearly two decades, and loves connecting people to the historical roots of our faith traditions. She is the President of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship, and the Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s Ministerial Leadership Network. Rev. Kingman serves as the Minister for Faith and Justice of the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Edmonds, Washington. She is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry, and spent more than ten years working with the Unitarians of Transylvania in sustainable community development. Rev. Kingman grew up Baptist and when she came to Unitarian Universalism, she brought with her a deep love for Jesus and the biblical tradition. Her family is multi-racial and multi-religious. She and her partner Alan live in Seattle with their six year old twins, the youngest of their five children.


This sounds wonderful, what do I do now?

  • Click "Add to cart" and select how many spots you want to reserve. (Note: this link will be available until April 1.)
  • Proceed to check out. This cost reserves your spot for the trip in 2018.
  • We will contact you to arrange the full payment. By April 1, we will need $1500. Then you can send us a check for the full amount (11 day trip - $2450) or split it into two payments (11 day trip - $1225 each). Trips must be paid for by August 1, 2018.
  • Book your calendar, we're headed to Israel and Palestine!
Holy Land Trip 2018

This $25 payment holds your spot for the 2018 trip. If you are RSVPing for more than one person, please purchase additional tickets.

Once we have 20 registrants by March 1, we will let you know. At that point, you will have 2 weeks to submit your first payment of $1500 per person.

Add To Cart


What does this experience of a lifetime cost?

The cost is $2450 plus no more than $1500 in airfare.  Airline tickets will be booked together, with airfare estimated at $1,500; you'll be refunded the difference.  This base price of $2450 is inclusive of lodging, breakfast, dinner, and transportation. A non-refundable deposit of $25 is due by April 1, 2018 to secure your place on your trip. 


What can I expect on the day-to-day activities?

Each day will include prayer, group reflection, and educational content. Typically, each day will have two major touring or engagement activities--morning and afternoon--followed by evening reflection.  Accommodations are modest but very comfortable.  A more detailed tentative itinerary is below.


What documents do I need to travel to Israel?

You will need a valid, up to date passport (and it needs to be valid for at least 6 months after you arrive--so, for this trip, your passport needs to be valid through May 1, 2019).  Currently, you don't need a visa to travel to Israel.  


I have questions: who can I email?

Email UU Christian Fellowship Executive Director, Rev. Jake Morrill, at revjakebmorrill@gmail.com with your questions.


Tentative Itinerary

Note: The itinerary below reflects the usual schedule that Rev. Steve Martin has followed in the many trips he has led.  At the same time, it's important for travelers to be open to adjustments in the schedule, either because of developments or opportunities that arise during the trip.


Friday, Oct. 19   
- Travel from the US to Tel Aviv

Saturday, Oct. 20  
- Arrive Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport
- Transfer to Bethlehem
- Dinner & overnight: Bethlehem

Sunday, Oct. 21
- 08:00: Bethlehem
Church of the Nativity
- St. Jerome’s Caves
Milk Grotto
- Lunch: Bethlehem
Wi’am: The Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center, in Bethlehem
- Afternoon: Beit Sahour
- Shepherds’ Fields
Visit part of the Separation Wall
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Monday, Oct. 22
08:00: Old City of Jerusalem
Church of St. Anne
- Pools of Bethesda
Ecce Homo Church
Via Dolorosa
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
- Afternoon: Mount Zion
Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Tuesday, Oct. 23 
- 08:00 Olive Harvest
- Afternoon: Return to Bethlehem
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Wednesday, Oct. 24
- 07:30: Masada
- Afternoon
Qumran (where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered)
- Opportunity to swim (float) in the Dead Sea
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Thursday, Oct. 25 
- 08:00
- View Dome of the Rock
Wailing Wall (Western Wall)
- Mount of Olives: panoramic view of the Old City
- Palm Sunday Route
Pater Noster Church
- Dominus Flevit
Garden of Gethsemane
- Church of All Nations
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Friday, Oct. 26  
- 08:00 Hebron
Tomb of the Patriarchs
- Lunch with a local family
- Afternoon Hebron
Jewish Settlements
Hebron glass: shopping
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Saturday, Oct. 27
- 08:00
- Village of Ein Karem: birthplace of St. John the Baptist
Church of St. John the Baptist – Church of the Visitation
Augusta Victoria Hospital
- Sheikh Jarrah – Abu Deis
Tour with ICAHD (The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions)
-  Evening: Dinner & overnight in Bethlehem

Sunday, Oct. 28
- Morning: Worship with Palestinian Christians
- Travel to Nazareth
- Mid-day: Neve Shalom (a mixed Jewish & Arab village)
- Afternoon
- Basilica of the Annunciation
- St. Joseph’s Church
- Church of the Angel Gabriel
- Mary’s Well
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Nazareth

Monday, Oct. 29
- 08:00 Cana Wedding Church
- Morning: Drive to the Sea of Galilee
Capernaum Synagogue and St. Peter’s house
- Church of the Loaves and Fishes
- Church of St. Peter’s Primacy
Mount of Beatitudes: site of the Sermon on Mount
Sail on the Sea of Galilee
- Evening: Dinner & overnight in Nazareth

Tuesday, Oct. 30 
- 08:00 Mediterranean Coast
- Roman Capital of Caesarea: Aqueduct – theatre – city
-  Drive through Tel Aviv & Jaffa (city tour of Jaffa)
- Drive to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport for departure (midnight flights)

Wednesday, Oct. 31: Home!