WCUCC Ministries
WCUCC Ministries

Bethlehem Partnership Trip to the Holy Land - April 2013


As part of our commitment to Bright Stars of Bethlehem, Nancy Baumgardner and I organize trips to the Holy Land. We invite you to consider traveling with us April 26 – May 7, 2013 for a trip focused on Women of Faith: past and present. On past trips we have focused our attention on the men of our traditions, men like Abraham and Peter, Moses and Muhammad. This year we will travel to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Galilee, Nazareth and the Judean desert, reflecting on the lives and faith of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim women who played a role in their faith traditions and meeting women of today who seek to live out their faith in this complex and troubled place we call the holy land. If you are interested in traveling with us, please review the tentative itinerary, contact us if you have questions, and let us know if you would like to be part of this delegation. We will be making a wider appeal at the Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ Annual Meeting in June as well as other gatherings this summer. As the trip fills up, we will contact those of you who have indicated a desire to join us, ask you to commit, and request your credit card information in order to make airline tickets and lodging accommodations.

We anticipate that the trip will cost around $3000 depending on plane fare and the number of people traveling. The cost is based on double rooms; please note: single rooms significantly increase the cost for you. If you have a roommate preference, please indicate that; if not, we will pair you up with another traveler.

Please note: Participants need to be in excellent physical health and able to do considerable and often strenuous walking on a daily basis. The streets are uneven and there are often steps to be climbed. It is also important to realize that, in Israel and Palestine, there are no accommodations at sites or most hotels for those with physical limitations.

As you surely have read, there are significant and, often, contentious issues that complicate the lives and livelihoods of God's people in this land. Sometimes travelers – or their families - have questions about their safety in Israel and Palestine. Although we cannot guarantee your safety, we have not encountered any dangerous situations on any of our trips. We are confident that our contacts in Bethlehem as well as our driver are well aware of the political situation and have the wellbeing of our groups in mind.

Again, please feel free to contact us by email or phone to talk about the trip or answer any questions you may have. Our faith and our lives have been powerfully changed by our experiences in the Holy Land and we look forward to sharing the land and its people with you.

Peace, shalom, salaam.

Bonnie Van Overbeke and Nancy Baumgardner

Email: bonnievano@aol.com or nancybaumgardner@gmail.com

Phone: 608-274-1859 (Bonnie) or 608-274-6211 (Nancy)

Preliminary Itinerary for April 2013 trip (as of January, 2012)

Proposed Schedule: 12 days

Friday afternoon, April 26: fly to Tel Aviv out of Chicago O'Hare Airport.

Saturday, April 27. Arrive in Tel Aviv.

Go to Bethlehem, stay at the Guest House on the campus of Christmas Lutheran Church.

Sunday, April 28: attend worship at Christmas Lutheran Church

Afternoon tour of the city

Monday, April 29: tour of Dar al Kalima college/meeting with Nuha Khoury, Dean of Students

Afternoon – visit Rachel's tomb and the Women's Cooperative, Bethlehem

Tuesday, April 30: go to Tent of Many Nations, visit with Amal Nassar

Go to Hebron (Tomb of the Patriarchs/Matriarchs: Abraham, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah)

Wednesday, May 1: go to Galilee by way of Ramallah

Overnight in Tiberias

Thursday, May 2: go to Nazareth (Church of the Annunciation/Sisters of the Nazarene)

Return to Jerusalem, dinner with Dalia Landau (The Lemon Tree)

Friday, May 3: Tour of the Old City

Afternoon: Meet with representative from Machsom Watch

Participate with Women in Black in street demonstration

Saturday, May 4: walk Mount of Olives (Church of Mary Magdalene/Church of the Dormition)

Afternoon: Free time in the Old City

Sunday, May 5:

Head for Jericho and Massada

Stay overnight at spa resort on Dead Sea

Monday, May 6: late afternoon, head to Tel Aviv for late night flight

Tuesday, May 7: arrive in Chicago, O'Hare

*Please note: this is an early and tentative itinerary. Availability of contacts and conditions on the ground may alter our plans - as will new ideas that spring up over the course of the year!

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