PILGRIMAGE IN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE
PREPARING TO GO
Presbyterians understand Christian faith to occur at the intersection of the divine and the human, the ancient and the contemporary, and the prayerful and the just. Pilgrimages should feed that faith and empower our lives of discipleship. Amid the many kinds of Holy Land trips that are available, we feel that faithful journeys have several common characteristics. We strongly encourage you to ensure your journey includes as many of these Six Elements as possible:
Significant time visiting local Christians and church leaders as well as the holy sites
Significant time in the Palestinian Territories (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) as well as in Israel
Opportunities to meet Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers
Opportunities to engage in interfaith discussions with a range of perspectives
Opportunities to establish partnerships and relationships with congregations, organizations, and individuals in the region
The first four objectives were emphasized in a
resolution passed overwhelmingly at the 2008
General Assembly. Read the entire resolution.
(Paragraph 5 explicitly addresses travel.)
RESOURCES FOR DISCERNMENT AND PREPARATION:
+ "Top Ten Questions" to ask about your Holy Land trip.
+ "A Code of Conduct" created by the Palestinian Initiative for Responsible Tourism.
+ The New Jersey Israel-Palestine Education Group (a state-wide Presbyterian Task Force supported by six Presbyteries) has guidelines for their pilgrimages, including a preparatory reading list.
+ Avail yourself of PC(USA)'s Israel and Palestine pages as well as the resources elsewhere on this site.