The flight from Newark to Tel Aviv was an hour late and uncomfortable, but otherwise uneventful; we all made it to Israel. I think I may have gotten 2-3 hours of bad sleep.
Our guide Iyad Qumri met all 19 Christ Church Pilgrims us at the airport and drove us by bus to Jerusalem. He gave us a mini tour of parts of the West Bank along the way, driving past Palestinian towns and Israeli settlements.
We arrived at the St George’s Guesthouse where we are staying in Jerusalem around 7:30pm. The entire Alexandria group had already arrived in drips and drabs over the day and so our group has swelled to its full size of 41 Pilgrims.
After a brief gathering I offered a prayer of thanksgiving for safe travel and our loved ones back home and grace before dinner.
Dinner was served (upside down chicken and rice, yogurt and cucumbers, a variety of other salads, etc) and it was deliscious. After dinner we met the Archbishop of The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, “a province of the Anglican Communion stretching from Iran in the east to Algeria in the west, and Cyprus in the north to Somalia in the south. It is the largest and the most diverse Anglican province. The church is headed by a President Bishop, currently the Most Reverend Suheil Dawani, who ranks as a representative primate in the Anglican Communion. The Central Synod of the church is its deliberative and legislative organ. The province is divided into four dioceses:
Diocese of Jerusalem — covering Israel, Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon,
Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf — covering Cyprus, the Arabian peninsula and Iraq,
Diocese of Egypt with North Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti — also covering Algeria, Tunisia and Libya,
Diocese of Iran.”
We then gathered for introductions, travel tips, and a review of our itinerary.
Tomorrow is day 1, and start bright and early at 7am. Local time here is 7 hours ahead of New York. The weather here is gorgeous. Mid 80s with no humidity during the day. Mid 60s at night.