St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Grand Island, New York

  ~presents ~

A Journey to the Holy Land


Under the Direction of The Rev. Canon Earle King

Local Guide and Instructor:  Canon Iyad Qumri

Chaplain:  The Rev. Mark Stanger


11 Days:  November 10-20, 2017

Updated on February 13, 2016



Friday, November 10, Day 1:  Depart USA


Saturday, November 11, Day 2

Arrive in Tel Aviv, Transfer to St. George’s Guest House in Jerusalem

Walk to Damascus Gate into the Old City of Jerusalem

Dinner and overnight at Saint George’s Guest House


Sunday, November 12, Day 3

Worship at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Ramallah

The Church of the Resurrection (aka the Church of the Holy Sepulcher)

Dinner and overnight at St. George’s Guest House

Guest Speaker: Contemporary Issues- A Palestinian Christian Perspective


Monday, November 13, Day 4

Western “Wailing Wall”

Dome of the Rock

St. Anne’s Church

Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children

Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial)

Dinner and overnight at St. George’s Guest House

Guest Speaker: Lecture on Islam


Tuesday, November 14, Day 5:  Caesarea / Sepphoris / Nazareth / Christ Church

Caesarea Maratima (on the Mediterranean Sea)


Nazareth (St. Gabriel’s Church, Basilica of the Annunciation)

Christ Episcopal Church

Dinner and overnight at Sisters of Nazareth


Wednesday, November 15, Day 6

Jordan River (renew Baptismal vows) / Sea of Galilee


Mount of the Beatitudes

Eucharist overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Tabgha (Heptapegon) – Feeding of the 5000

Chapel of St. Peter’s Primacy.

Dinner and overnight at Sisters of Nazareth


Thursday, November 16, Day 7

Burqin:  St. George’s Church (Healing of the 10 Lepers)

Nablus:  St. Photini Greek Orthodox Monastery (Jesus meets the woman at the well)

Taybeh:  Brewery, and remains of ancient St. George’s Church

Dinner and overnight at Saint George’s Guest House

Guest Speaker: Contemporary Issues- An Israeli Perspective


Friday, November 17, Day 8

Shepherds’ Field (outside Bethlehem)

Bethlehem:  Church of the Nativity

Jerusalem:  Walk down the Mount of Olives (Garden of Gethsemane)

Dinner and overnight at Saint George’s Guest House


Saturday, November 18, Day 9

Eucharist in the Judean Desert

St. George’s Monastery

Walk along the Wadi Qelt to Jericho

Herod’s winter palace (ruins) in Jericho

Float in the Dead Sea

Dinner and overnight at Saint George’s Guest House


Sunday, November 19, Day 10

Worship at St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem

Israel Museum

Free time

Dinner at the Qumris in Jericho

Overnight at Saint George’s Guest House


Monday, November 20, Day 11

Walk the Way of the Cross

Eucharist at Emmaus Nicopolis

Free time

Transfer to Ben Gurion airport for our return flight

This is the preliminary itinerary.  Modifications may be made prior to our departure, and modifications may also be made after our arrival.


About the Pilgrimage Organizer

My name is Earle King.  I’m an Episcopal priest, and I’ve served as Rector at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Grand Island, New York, since 1987.  This pilgrimage will be my seventh pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I was there on sabbatical in 2004.  I took youth groups from St. Martin’s to the Holy Land in 2006, 2008, and 2010.  And I organized adult groups to the Holy Land in 2014 and 2015, using Iyad Qumri as the guide for both of the adult pilgrimages.  So I have a fair knowledge of the Holy Land, and I have a fair amount of experience organizing pilgrimages to the Holy Land.


About the guide

Iyad Qumri is a fantastic guide.  I used him as guide in 2014 and 2015, and the entire group loved him.  I’ve known Iyad since 2004, and I have a very high level of trust in him.  Iyad is a Palestinian Christian and a member of St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem.  So he knows well the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, a great plus for Episcopalians.  In fact, Iyad makes his living almost exclusively as a guide for Episcopal groups from the United States.  As a Christian, he is quick to include the reading of the Bible, singing of hymns, the celebrating of Eucharists at multiple places, and other devotional activities.  So you’re in for a pilgrimage, not simply a tour.  His deep knowledge of the Diocese also means that you get a great view of the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.  Groups also frequently have the opportunity to meet with Archbishop Suheil Dawani, the local Episcopal bishop.  And of course, Iyad knows intimately the history of the area which is his home.  Iyad has been honored with the title “Canon” from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.  A few years ago, Iyad brought Fr. Mark Stanger (an Episcopal priest from San Francisco) to Jerusalem to work with him as “chaplain” for pilgrimages.  I expect that Mark will still be with Iyad, serving as our chaplain in 2017.  He’s great.  For more information on Iyad, check his website at


About Safety

The number one issue on the minds of many pilgrims is the issue of safety.  Will I be safe in the Holy Land?  You will hear lots of news which suggests that you cannot possibly be safe.  So first of all, don’t believe everything you hear in the news!  Your friends and relatives will all probably question you about your “crazy” decision to go to what they believe is such a dangerous place.  When in 2004 I first went to the Holy Land, almost everyone in my congregation thought that I would come back dead.  My contact in Jerusalem finally suggested that I ask folks, “Tell me, what was Jerusalem like the most recent time you were there?”  And of course, there was no response, because no one was speaking from experience.  We don’t avoid New York City because of the 2001 terrorist attack, or because of crime.  We go, and we proceed with care.  The same is true of the Holy Land.  Iyad is incredibly highly connected (by phone, for example) with people around him.  When and if there is any problem, Iyad is quick to modify the itinerary to avoid trouble.  I can absolutely assure you that Iyad will not take you any place where you will not be completely safe.  You can trust him.  I’ve taken teenagers to the Holy Land three times.  If the first of those three trips had not been safe, you can be certain that the parents at my parish would not have let me return two more times with their teens.  My group of 28 in 2014 and my group of 37 in 2015 all felt very safe throughout the pilgrimage.


About Cost

This material is prepared in February of 2016, and the airline prices are not yet fixed.  There are two primary costs.


The first is airfare.  Airfares for November of 2017 are not available till late 2016 or early 2017.  So I have no clue what that price will be.  The group rate for the November 2014 pilgrimage for western New Yorkers was $1222.  The group rate for the November 2015 pilgrimage was $1044.  With the recent drop in fuel prices, airfares are dropping.  But who knows what the situation will be a year from now.  I will organize a Group Rate for those who wish to fly as part of the group.  Group Rates make a LOT of sense.  The price generally is good.  And I can reserve a lot of seats with only a small deposit.  On the other hand, any pilgrim is welcome to make his or her own reservations.


The second is the on-the-ground cost.  That price is $1810, double occupancy.  This GREAT price covers all the basic expenses you will incur in the Holy Land:  lodging, three meals a day, transportation, transfers, and entrance fees.  Single Supplement is an additional $420.  All rooms are quite comfortable and have sink, toilet, and shower.


You will probably also incur additional costs.  Some you may want to plan for would include:

  • Travel costs relating to airports:  parking, meals at airports, etc.
  • Beverages.  Water is served at all meals.  Other beverages are also available at breakfast.  If you wish other beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) at other meals, these are at your cost.
  • Phone cards (if you're planning that), or modifying your smart phone plan.
  • Offerings on Sundays and/or at other places we visit.  Your price includes enough extra that I will be making a financial gift on behalf of our group when we visit St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, St. Andrew’s Church in Ramallah, Christ Episcopal Church in Nazareth, and Princess Basma Hospital.  If we visit with Archbishop Suheil Dawani, I'll give him a gift as well.
  • Laundry, if you plan to do that.
  • Tips for the guide, the chaplain, and the bus driver (typically total about $100).
  • And, of course, any souvenirs and gifts that you may wish to purchase.


Here’s the payment schedule.  To reserve a place on this pilgrimage, a deposit of $300 per person is required.  All checks should be made payable to “St. Martin’s” with “2017 Pilgrimage” in the memo.  Please send to:

The Rev. Earle King

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church

2587 Baseline Road

Grand Island, NY  14072

This deposit is generally non-refundable.  I need to pay a deposit to Iyad to hold the November 2017 date, and I’ll need $100 per person to hold a space for group rates for airfare.  About four months prior to the pilgrimage, I’ll need an additional $300.  The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.  I do NOT provide travel insurance.  If you desire travel insurance, you need to procure it yourself.  You also need to determine what type(s) of insurance you want to have:

  • Medical insurance – First check with your health care provider to see how you are covered.
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Trip cancellation  
  • Terrorist issues – From what I understand, you need to check coverage carefully for this.

Please note that at least some travel insurance contracts require you to purchase your travel insurance within a month of the time that you make your first deposit.


For more information

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.  The phone number at St. Martin’s is 716-773-3335.  I have two email addresses: as well as  I shortly will have considerably more detailed information available in electronic form.