Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Developing Spiritual Leaders: A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land


Dear Friends,

The year was 2000 and Bishop Robert C. Morgan was the Kentucky Conference bishop. My husband Lee and I were among the participants on the pilgrimage Bishop Morgan led to the Holy Land that year.

I’ll always remember Bishop Morgan negotiating with the driver and guide to add to the itinerary “off the beaten pathway” sites. He was an amazing student of the land and Bible who taught us much in those ten days. It was the journey of a lifetime that forever changed how I teach, preach and read Scripture. I progressed in my development as a spiritual leader through the experience.

Leading similar experiences in North Alabama is my way of “paying forward” the impactful opportunity offered to Lee and me 17 years ago. After all, this is a great way to live into the “develop spiritual leaders” dimension of our Conference mission.

The next such trip for North Alabamians will begin Tuesday, January 30, 2018, and conclude on Thursday, February 8. We will be travelling with Educational Opportunities, an organization that has been taking United Methodist groups on such journeys for many years now!

After landing in Israel we will journey by bus to The Yardent Baptismal Site at the Jordan River followed by stops at Capernaum, the Mt. of Beatitudes and Caesarea Philippi. During the next days we will visit several other historic sites including the Sea of Galilee, Beit Shean, Nazareth, Megiddo and Caesarea. In addition, we will spend 4 days in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, including Bethlehem, Qumran, Masada, the Dead Sea and En Gedi. The pilgrimage promises to be an awesome and inspirational experience.

The 2018 pilgrimage is open to clergy and laity. See logistical details at The cost for clergy who have not previously been to the Holy Land is greatly reduced thanks to generous scholarships from Educational Opportunities and the North Alabama Conference Board of Ministry. Contact Executive Director of Ordained Ministry, Rev. Ron Schultz, for more information at or 205-226-7969.

Yes, seventeen years ago I participated in a life-changing pilgrimage to the Holy Land that positively affected my development as a spiritual leader. I look forward to continued spiritual development for all of us who participate in the January 30-February 8 Holy Land pilgrimage.

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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Discover, Develop and Deploy Spiritual Leaders to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.