WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is organizing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land just before the beginning of the Lenten season. The trip, Feb. 23-March 5, is designed for young clergy, although not limited to them.
“A high-quality Holy Land pilgrimage is bound to significantly impact one’s ministry for years to come,” said the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary for Education & Leadership Formation at GBCS. “It is far more beneficial to go as a young clergy when the experience can have the greatest impact.”
Christie and the Rev. Clayton Childers, GBCS director of Annual Conference Relations, are working with Dr. Peter Miano of the Society for Biblical Studies, Boston, to design the Holy Land pilgrimage.
“My first Holy Land visit was in 2004,” Childers said. “I came away with a vastly expanded appreciation of Jesus and his culture. I also heard from a wide variety of voices about life in the Holy Land today. It changed my perception of faith and life forever. It was that important to me.”
Childers said he came away agreeing with so many colleagues who have wondered: “Why did I wait so long?” “This is the main reason we want to make this type of trip available to young clergy,” he said. “For so many it is a life-transforming, ministry-transforming experience.”
The trip will be limited to 15-20 persons. A careful balance will be maintained between learning first-hand about the Holy Land’s historic-biblical significance and being exposed to a number of people reflecting the complexity of its current social context.
Three Continuing Education Credits will be awarded for full participation.
Cost, including airfare from New York, will be $2,786. This is for a double-occupancy room. A deposit of $200 is due Nov. 24 with the balance due Dec. 14.
Registration should be made directly with the Society for Biblical Studies (www.sbsedu.org), 1 Mass. Ave., Suite 40, Arlington, MA 02476, (781) 641-4453.