The Wesley Foundation at UVA and the William & Mary Wesley Foundation are making a pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine in January 2009. We are organizing the trip through The Society for Biblical Studies (www.sbsedu.org), an educational travel organization. This is our second trip together to the Holy Land and we anticipate visits to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Jericho, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Qumran, the Sea of Galilee, and more. The trip combines spiritual pilgrimage, education about the current context, and mission for a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity.
We will walk where Jesus walked, experience unforgettable worship, and meet with a broad range of Palestinians and Israelis to learn more about the complexities of the situation there. We will also volunteer for two days, probably planting olive trees at a Palestinian farm surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Olive trees take several years to mature so their planting is an expression of hope. There will also be two 3-day extensions to the trip available, one to Mt. Sinai in Egypt and the other to Petra in Jordan.
Our itinerary will be finalized closer to our departure date but the basic trip is available on the SBS web site. In addition to what is on the itinerary, we are investigating the possibility of visiting both a Palestinian refugee camp and a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Our travel dates are January 2- 12 (January 12-15 for the extensions). Please note that the cost of the trip is based on flying from JFK in NYC. If there is sufficient interest we may arrange group travel from Dulles to JFK but that is till to be determined. (Travel to the New York airport is in addition to the basic trip cost listed on the web site.)
Registration forms are on the SBS site. Be sure to read the registration information — including payment details — carefully.
We are anticipating a cost of approximately $2300/person for the basic trip (the cost for the extensions will be approximately $500 each). The Wesley Foundation at UVA is offering partial scholarships to the first 8 students who sign up for the trip by submitting paperwork and the deposit. The deadline to register for this trip is September 28, 2008.
In addition to our student travelers, we have a limited number of spots available for our alumni and Charlottesville District friends. Any trip to the Holy Land is a wonderful opportunity for study and reflection. This trip is a fantastic opportunity to learn and explore with a great group of students from our Wesley Foundations. Basic trip cost for non-student friends is $2500. If you are interested in making the pilgrimage with us, please contact the Rev. Deborah Lewis for more information: deborah AT wesleyatuva.org or 434-977-6500.
Students: We are holding an interest meeting Thursday, September 4th, at 8pm (right after forum finishes up) in the Wesley Foundation living room.