Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Opportunities for spiritual pilgrimages to Israel and Oberammergau in 2020


Dear Friends,

My husband Lee and I were serving as clergy in the Kentucky Conference when we received an invitation from our Bishop, Robert C. Morgan, to participate in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After my parents offered to care for our 7 and 5-year-old children while we were away, Lee and I registered for the pilgrimage. We are both glad that we did, as this ten-day pilgrimage proved to be life-changing. Since then, Lee and I have taken four additional journeys to Israel, three of which have included the joy of traveling with clergy and laity from the North Alabama Conference. Each pilgrimage has proven to be life-giving and spirit-enriching.

I call these journeys to the Holy Land “pilgrimages” because words like trip, leadership development and continuing education do not adequately capture the fullness of the experience. Being able to walk in the land where Jesus walked . . . see places he frequented. . . ride in a boat on the Sea of Galilee . . . and peer into what may have been the very tomb where the disciples took Jesus’ body after his crucifixion combine to create a transformational spiritual experience. Traveling in the Holy Land not only enhances my teaching and preaching, but also deeply affects my relationship with God.

The next North Alabama Conference Holy Land Pilgrimage that I will host is February 4-13, 2020, and is open to clergy and laity. Note that 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. See logistical details at

This year I will also host a pilgrimage through Educational Opportunities on June 16-26 to various sites in Italy, Austria and Germany, ending up in Oberammergau to see The Passion Play. Every ten years the people in the village of Oberammergau, Germany present a world-class play depicting the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 500,000 visitors are expected to view the play in 2020, 250,000 of whom will be international. We will begin in Rome . . . continue to Assissi . . . travel to Milan, Tyrolean Village, Innsbruck and Salzburg . . . and conclude in Oberammagau. There are still spaces available for the Oberammergau trip.

If you are interested in being a part of either of these pilgrimages, you are invited to sign up at one of the above links. Also, if you have questions, feel free to contact Executive Director of Ordained Ministry Rev. Ron Schultz at or 205-226-7969.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to participate in one of these spiritual pilgrimages with Lee and me during 2020. As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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