I visited the Holy Land for the first time in 2018. It was a transformative experience.
By the second day (at Caesarea Maritima [see picture below]), I was convinced I would be back.
The trip was sponsored by the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies (JCBS), and our teacher was Monte Luker (current Academic Dean of JCBS).
Even before the trip was over, Monte and I began discussing the possibility of co-leading a trip for Northeastern Seminary (where I am a faculty member). After returning to the USA, we began planning in earnest.
The itinerary was set by the end of 2019 and we had a PDF brochure with all the details finalized early in 2020, ready to do the trip after Christmas of that year.
But then COVID hit. So the trip had to be canceled.
New Trip to the Holy Land
Well, a new trip is in the works. It’s going to happen right after Christmas 2022.
Our dates will most likely be December 29, 2022 through January 11, 2023. Those dates are not set in stone yet (they may shift by a day or two), but it will be a fourteen-day trip (eleven days in Israel with three days for travel on both ends).
We will arrive in Tel Aviv (on the Mediterranean coast) and head north to Galilee to begin our tour through the Holy Land. We’ll visit sites like Caesarea Philippi (where Peter confessed that Jesus was Messiah), Jeroboam’s temple at Dan (where he built the golden calf statues), and work our way down south to Masada (with a free day at the En Gedi resort at the Dead Sea) and Beersheba in the Negev (where Abraham lived). We’ll spend our last days in Jerusalem before flying home.
Along the way, we will learn about the importance of the various archeological and pilgrimage sites, reflect on their relation to events in the Bible, and have time to think about the significance of what we are seeing and learning for our own lives.
You will also have the opportunity to take communion on the Mount of Beatitudes and to renew your baptismal vows at the Jordan River, where John baptized Jesus.
Approximate Cost of the Holy Land Trip
The exact cost of the trip is still being worked out, but is expected to be $4,500-$5,000 per person. This covers airfare from Rochester, NY, all transportation within Israel, entrance fees to all sites we visit, and all hotel stays and meals (except for lunch, which we purchase on the road).
Anyone traveling from a different city will have a slightly different cost. But it will be comparable.
All the logistics (including air travel) will be organized by Educational Opportunities, a group that has a great deal of experience in planning such trips.
Here is a short video from Educational Opportunities about visiting the Holy Land: https://vimeo.com/543713454?ref=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR2672EIrHK6QomJcZO5dI8Usxoue9mqKPLA-ZfVRoh03g7EaQj4FK2PMIQ
The Trip Leaders
Because Monte Luker was already booked for another Holy Land trip after Christmas 2022, our teacher from the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies will be Bobby Morris, a Lutheran pastor and adjunct professor in Hebrew and Old Testament, who has led numerous such trips. Bobby will be the official teacher for the trip and I will be the host and co-teacher.
Current Interest in the Trip
Once the itinerary is set, a PDF brochure will be produced and online registration will be available. It’s a first-come, first-served situation. The absolute maximum is fifty participants, including Bobby Morris and myself (since that is what the tour bus can hold). However, we will probably cap registration before that, since having fifty on a tour of a site in the Holy Land slows everything down considerably. (If the demand requires it, and it looks like it might, we will probably have another trip the following year.)
Registration will be open to Northeastern Seminary students, along with alums and friends of the Seminary and of Roberts Wesleyan College (we are interpreting “friends” quite broadly to include anyone with a connection of any sort to the two schools or to faculty or staff of the schools).
Sixty-five people have already indicated some degree of interest in the trip.
Whether or not you have previously contacted me about the Holy Land trip, I am asking anyone interested to email me to confirm (or let me know of) your interest. That way, you will receive updates on the trip, including the PDF brochure when it is ready, notification about when registration begins (probably February or March 2022), and the online registration link (plus lots more information about what to expect on the trip).
If you don’t have my email address, just use the contact function on this website.
Topics on Location (BIB 735)
There will be an option for Seminary students to take a 3-credit Northeastern Seminary course in conjunction with the trip. Anyone interested in taking this course should contact me and I will fill you in on the details.