Footsteps of Jesus
The Footsteps of Jesus course, which lasts for 10 days, invites participants to become pilgrims who follow the journey that Jesus and his first disciples made through the Holy Land. There are several iterations of this program described here.
Its focus is more devotional than the longer Palestine of Jesus course, while still covering all the major sites.
The course aims to lead its members to be struck anew by the power of Jesus’ teaching and healing ministry, to experience both the joy and the sorrow of his journey to the cross, and to encounter the risen Christ at his tomb and in breaking bread together at Emmaus.
Mini-lectures prepare course participants for site visits and explore the geographical contexts of Jesus’ ministry. The course also integrates contextual biblical study with theological and spiritual reflection, delves into contemporary issues in Israel and Palestine, and encounters the roots and traditions of the Christian faiths of East and West. All activities are rooted in prayer.
Content of the Course:
While the details of every programme vary depending on local circumstances and dates, the course typically visits the following places:
- The place of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem
- Jesus’ childhood home and the site of the Annunciation in Nazareth
- The site of Christ’s baptism (where there is an opportunity to renew baptismal vows)
- The Judean desert where Jesus was tempted after his baptism
- The Sea of Galilee, including Jesus “own town” (Matt. 9.1), Capernaum
- Caesarea Philippi, where Peter answered Christ’s question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8.29)
- The site of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor (Matt. 17.1-8)
- Bethphage, from where Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph (Mark 11.1-10)
- The Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14.32–49)
- The remains of the Jerusalem Temple complex from Jesus’ day, the Western Wall and the excavations south and west of the Temple retaining wall
- The Way of the Cross, Golgotha and Jesus’ tomb
- Emmaus, where Christ appeared after his resurrection (Luke 24.13-31)
- Worship with the local Anglican community
Footsteps of Jesus 2: What’s New?
This course, new to the St. George’s programs in 2020, is designed to give the person who has already visited the Holy Land and perhaps St. George’s College the opportunity to revisit some sites for more in-depth study and to discover what’s new.
Sites central to the life and ministry of Jesus will again receive focus, but with an emphasis on the early pilgrimage history of the sites and recent archaeological explorations that shed new light on well-known places, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and its environs and the tunnels south and west of the Temple Mount. In addition, exciting recent discoveries, such as the first-century A.D. synagogue and its remarkable carved stone at Magdala, have given new insights into the lands of Jesus. Finally, this pilgrimage will visit sites that other St. George’s College courses simply cannot fit into their timeframes, but which are nonetheless important to an understanding of the land as a whole, such as places relating to early rabbinic Judaism and cities of Galilee and Golan not often scheduled, including Chorazin, Ein Keshatot and Gamla. A special tangent of study on this course will be a look at the development of early synagogue and church architectures.
Seeking the Messiah: Advent Hope
This course, new to St. George’s College in 2020, is designed around the framework of the Footsteps of Jesus course, but with a special emphasis on the season of Advent and the biblical narratives of expectation, hope, and fulfilment. The study pilgrimage will build in greater opportunities for worship, reflection, and spiritual conversation within the pilgrim and staff fellowship and will explore how other Christian communities in Jerusalem are experiencing Advent through liturgy and the arts.
Those who are responsible for the designing of liturgies or who are spiritual directors, or those who wish for a pilgrimage that visits the Christian holy sites but with emphasis on greater reflection and more opportunities for individual and corporate prayer will find this course especially fulfilling.
Lambeth Bishops’ Course
This special course, offered in 2020 only, is open to bishops, their spouses, and members of their immediate traveling parties who attended the recently-concluded Lambeth Conference in the UK.
This course is designed to be a slightly shorter version of the Footsteps of Jesus course, focusing on the work and ministry of bishops and their expression in the earliest traditions of the Holy Land. Bishops will visit and pray in the major sites associated with the life of Jesus and his earliest disciples and evangelists and will hear onsite presentations about their history, archaeology and place in biblical narratives. In addition, bishops and their companions will meet their fellow bishops in the historic Christian communities of Jerusalem as they may be available during the course timetable. Finally, course members will learn in greater depth about the thriving ministry of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem and the Province of the Middle East.
While this study pilgrimage emphasizes the Christian traditions, it will also include aspects of Judaism and Islam and the contemporary political realities of peoples of the three Abrahamic faiths in Israel and Palestine.