An Enlightening Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

By Vicky Earll, Cranmer Hall

Firstly, I want to thank the St John’s College Student Opportunities Fund for supporting me to go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land as part of my training for Ordination at Cranmer Hall. The pilgrimage took place during June 2019 and was led by Cranmer Hall Warden – Rev. Dr Phillip Plyming supported by Dr Jocelyn Bryan. 24 ordinands and 2 spouses went on the Pilgrimage, starting in Galilee and following the journey of Mark’s Gospel to Jerusalem.

Visualising the physical space made the accounts so much more real and brought a greater understanding of what I have read.

The account of Jesus’ life, that I have read many, many times, was brought to existence by seeing the places where it happened. Visualising the physical space made the accounts so much more real and brought a greater understanding of what I have read. For example Jesus’ ministry around the Lake of Galilee happened in a much smaller area than I had imagined. Also, the journey Jesus took on foot from Galilee to Jerusalem was so much harder than I had thought. We realised this when walking through the desert where it was very hot and difficult under foot.

I felt stirred to learn more and do what I can to work for peace and reconciliation in this region.

A surprising aspect of the pilgrimage was the similarities between the time Jesus ministered and today in terms of the politics. Seeing some of the conflict and issues facing the people currently living there was profoundly moving and deeply sad. I felt stirred to learn more and do what I can to work for peace and reconciliation in this region. We were told by the people there that, as residents of the UK, we have more influence as to what goes on in their nation than we realise.

The Bible has been brought to life to me in a new way. As a future Priest in the Church of England, I hope this will have a profound effect on my preaching and ministry, which will hopefully be a blessing to others in the future.

Worshipping at the Jordan.

As we visited the various sites, not only did we have opportunity to learn about the history and biblical relevance of the places we were visiting, but space to worship together and time on our own to reflect and pray. This space was very important for us all on our pilgrimage and many including myself had profound times where we felt God speak to us personally.

As well as the profound spiritual experience of this pilgrimage it was a great joy to share it with the group who all got on so well, with many laughs!

Our final night at the hotel was Sultan Night! There is video evidence of our very own warden attempting Palestinian dancing together with a few ordinands!! Much fun was had by all!! As well as the profound spiritual experience of this pilgrimage it was a great joy to share it with the group who all got on so well, with many laughs!

One of the things that stood out to many of us on the pilgrimage was the humanity of Jesus. This verse from John 1:14 in The Message sums it up,

The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighbourhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish.

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