Pilgrimage of a lifetime

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In November and December this year, a group of twenty Christian young adults will travel to the Holy Land on an adventure and spiritual journey like no other – and you could be part of it. For  two weeks the group will be visiting historical and biblical sites, and will return home forever changed by the experience.

The Young Adult Pilgrimage to the Holy Land will be jointly led by Rev Dr Ian Robinson, chaplain at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and spiritual retreat leader; Rick Morrell, First  Third co-ordinator at the Uniting Church in WA; and Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, multicultural ministry co-ordinator at the Uniting Church in WA; with the help of John Snobar from Christian Pilgrimage Inc.

Beginning in Jordan, the pilgrimage will travel through Israel and Palestine, touring ancient cities and visiting significant sites such as where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, where Jesus met  the woman at the well, and Capernaum, where Jesus based his public ministry. Along the way, the group will be meeting a range of people, from locals to fellow pilgrims, and encounter new  cultures and languages.

Ian Robinson has been on such a pilgrimage five times, and is excited to share the experience with a new group of young Christians. He believes the trip will be a life  changing experience for those who are up for it.

“For most people there will be a general foundation of awareness of the biblical story which will become surprisingly stronger day by day,” he said. “They’ll never read the Bible in the same way  again and discipleship will never be the same again.”

The current political context in Israel and Palestine will also highlight complexities in what it means to be a person of faith. While there is political unrest in the area, Ian assures people that the  trip will be safe, and that backup plans are in place should a reason for concern arise.

“In Palestine and Israel I think people will encounter a political situation that has roots so deep it is completely unsolvable,” said Ian. “The question then arises, ‘what does discipleship mean in  a place like this?’ That’s a very powerful searchlight upon the expectations on what many people have.

“This connection with the Palestinian church will make the path of discipleship more complicated and more simple at the same time.”

Those taking the journey are required  to take part in a number of webinars and studies prior to the trip so that the experience can be lived fully. While the pilgrims are to be aged from 18–32, there are also applications sought for people who are available as mentors throughout the lead-up process and while on the journey.

Ian said that this trip will be a great investment for young people and their faith.

“I’d invite all parents and grandparents to invest in their children’s journey,” he said. “If ever you’ve invested in your children’s journey: education, Scripture Union Camps, orthodontist – A pilgrimage to Israel is up there with the investments you can make.”

Inspired?

Applications to join the pilgrimage are open until 1 August.

For more information visit http://youngadultspilgrimage2015. yolasite.com/ or contact Ian Robinson at ian.robinson@uwa.edu.au.

Heather Dowling

Top image: Jerusalem’s Old City

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