Early this morning I was at Heathrow airport dropping someone off who was to catch an early plane.  As we arrived at 04.45 I reflected on how pleased I was that the next time I shall be at Heathrow I don’t have to arrive anywhere near as early!

I’m writing this at 12.45 and I know that at this time next week the Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun and his co-leader, the Dean, The Very Revd Andrew Nunn, will be very much hoping that all the pilgrims will have arrived and are checked in and ready to board our flight to Tel Aviv as Monday 19 February is day one of the third Southwark Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Just under 90 pilgrims will be travelling to the Holy Land to spend eight days visiting the Holy sites and travelling in the footsteps of Jesus and his disciples and learning about our faith and more about being disciples as we go.

We will be travelling together in two coaches as we journey first to Jerusalem to experience the wonderful sites in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the souk as well as the Mount of Olives and the churches such as St Peter in Gallicantu.  From Jerusalem we will go to Tiberius and have a chance to sail on the Sea of Galilee and to renew our Baptism vows at Banias.

As the souk in Jerusalem reminds us this is not only an historical place but one in which real people who lead real lives in really complicated situations.  So, we shall be visiting two of the projects that we are featuring in the Bishop of Southwark’s Lent Call this year: the Jeel Al Amal school and the Al Shurooq School for the Blind.  We shall also visit Neve Shalom – a Jewish/Arab cooperative.

It will be a wonderful opportunity for us to share together the wonder of what we are experiencing as we read the scripture and pray together.

As we travel we hope that this record of what we see and do will enable others to virtually journey with us and share in all that we see and do.

Look out for our next post next Monday as we begin our pilgrimage to that most special of places: the Holy Land.