We visited: A visit to the beautiful Garden of the Tomb, close to the Place of the Skull. We shared Holy Communion here as part of worship, amidst masses of people from all parts of the world. A good reminder, that we are ‘United in Christ’, with the rest of the Christian world. We could only see the Dome of the Rock, the El Aska Mosque, we could not get close to it. Then on to the Mount of Olives, the Chapel of the Ascension, the Church of Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of the Nations, which stands on the Rock of the Agony where Jesus was betrayed by Judas. All before lunch!

Then on to Mount Zion and the Church of St Peter, on the site of Caiphas House, the Upper Room, the Tomb of King David (I didn’t know that they had actually found his body...have they?) We were all so tired we requested to finish the day and gladly returned to our hotel. (If anyone is wondering how I could, with mobility issues, take part in this pilgrimage, read on. In preparation and a fair bit of apprehension before the pilgrimage, I bought a walking stick with three legs and a seat at Mount Gould Hospital. It is an ugly thing but what a blessing, I could not have seen anywhere near as much without it. )

NOTE: This is a good opportunity to thank Bob, Teresa, Simon and Cyril, sincerely for all their care and kindness. And I thank the rest of their group for their patience with me, I know that I slowed them up but not once did I hear anyone complain. I don’t blame them if they did.

Day Six: Sunday in Jerusalem began with a walking tour of the Old City, in pouring rain. Although we were uncomfortable and cold, the agony and sacrifice of Christ was our focus as we walked along the Via Dolorosa and shared scripture and prayer the Stations of the Cross. We visited Pilate’s Judgement Hall and the Chapel of the Flagellation and completed this part of the tour at the Ecce Homo Arch, where Jesus was tried before Pilate. I am sure that we were all greatly challenged by this experience, it was all deeply moving, very spiritual and such a blessing.

We reached the Jewish quarter and saw the Wailing Wall, men to the left, women to the right. There were a lot of soldiers and police, security measures were tight but reassuring.

Day Seven - a day off! Torrential rain, but no dampened spirits as we took off in all directions to do our own thing. A pity that we couldn’t have a swim.

Day Eight: Instead of a free morning we checked out of our hotel and visited the beautiful birthplace of John the Baptist, Ein Karem. I could sense the prayers held in that church, a stunning place to be. The garden was peaceful and plentiful. This was a wonderful way to bring to a close that which has been an experience which I will never forget and always thank God for.

Rev Alison Richardson, Mount Gould, Cornerstone and Millbrook Churches.