Why is Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Important?
FHL believe for the Christian community in the Holy Land to flourish more pilgrims must make time to visit local Christians and support the local Christian economy. FHL suggest that pilgrimage itineraries have a balance of visits to Holy Sites mixed with opportunities to engage with the ‘Living Stones’ of the Christian faith.
"Seeing is believing"
We encourage UK Christians visiting the Holy Land, to pray with the local community at a Sunday Service, visit a school or children’s home and simply be among local Christians living their daily lives, sharing with them support and friendship – so they know they are not forgotten.
Supporting the local Christian economy
Pilgrimages should benefit the fragile local Christian economy whenever possible, staying in Christian owned hotels - with at least two nights in Bethlehem - and using Christian-owned restaurants, coach companies and guides. This cannot be left to chance. Always ensure your pilgrimage operator has proven credentials, contacts and experience to support Christian suppliers in the Holy Land - many do not consider this dimension to pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage support from FHL
Whilst FHL do not run pilgrimages, we are able to provide advice about planning a pilgrimage. We can direct pilgrimage organisers to Christian ground handlers and Christian hotels, as well as providing opportunities to meet with the ‘Living Stones’ of the Holy Land. Ideally, this support should be requested as early as possible in the planning process.
We can identify opportunities to worship with local Christians and visit Christian communities, including visits to FHL projects such as ‘St. Martha’s House’ - a day care centre for elderly Christian women in Bethlehem or to the ‘School of Joy’ in nearby Beit Sahour, a Christian run school for young people with learning difficulties. Arrangements can be made for groups of any size to visit, though there may be restrictions on certain days of the week; hence the importance of making contact with us as early as possible.
If you would like help in planning your pilgrimage to the Holy Land please contact the office on 01926 512980 firstname.lastname@example.org
Engaging with the 'Living Stones'
Thank you for arranging our visit to St Martha's House and the School of Joy. We had our eyes opened to the plight of ordinary Palestinians in the Holy Land and have decided to do some fundraising for FHL. Our week in the Holy Land was wonderful; probably something we will be unable to repeat.Holy Land pilgrim
Need help locating a pilgrimage to the Holy Land?
One of FHL’s four objectives is to encourage pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The opportunity to engage with the ‘Living Stones’ of the Holy Land is hugely important. After such experiences, pilgrims often return home determined to do something to support their Christian brothers and sisters.
However, if there is no pilgrimage organised locally, it can be difficult to know where to start to look for one. FHL are seeking to fill this gap by making our website the ‘go to’ resource for information on pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
The list here seeks to identify pilgrimages that are still taking bookings, and is presented according to the date of departure.
Whilst FHL do not make specific recommendations, our list is designed to be a good place for the 'would be pilgrim' to start their own their investigations. We would encourage supporters to review this list and, if they wish to find out more, make contact with the pilgrimage organisers directly for more information.
This is not an exhaustive list and does not show every pilgrimage or tour operator, only those we have contact with currently. There may be many others we are not aware of.
The FHL ‘Pilgrimage Listing’
The objective behind our ‘Pilgrimage Listing’ is to show that there are many pilgrimage opportunities in the UK, and that going on a Holy Land pilgrimage is the norm and not the exception. Our intention ultimately, is to list every UK pilgrimage and show the variety of UK departure points available.
Some pilgrimages may be set up for private groups, but many of these will be happy to welcome pilgrims from outside their organisation. Others may already be full or may not see the benefit of being included on the FHL listing. We hope in time to change that thinking, as we seek to publish a comprehensive list of Holy Land pilgrimages, with the aim of encouraging more people to go. This is a 'work in progress' and we do not have a full list yet.
FHL has no allegiance to specific companies. There is no charge to be listed on our ‘Pilgrimage Resource’ web page.
We believe that it is important that pilgrims and the organisers are financially protected so we have indicated those pilgrimages with ABTA, ATOL and AITO accreditations. However, we have also includes unlicensed pilgrimages, as long as they can confirm they are operating within the law.
- Pilgrimages are listed by the date of departure
- We recommend using a pilgrimage operator in the UK who provides protection to pilgrims and organisers. We have therefore listed their membership of ATOL, ABTA and AITO. See below for a clarification of what these mean for you.
- We have included the number of nights. Please bear in mind that longer pilgrimages can sometimes include optional ‘add-ons’ to Jordan or elsewhere, following time in the West Bank and Israel.
- We have included the departure airport/s as this will identify the area of the country most suitable to you.
- The lead organisation/location can be an individual, a parish, a diocese or other organisation
- The organiser for enquiry and booking details is most frequently the pilgrimage operator but can be an individual
- The website is the website of the pilgrimage operator where a brochure and booking form can often be found
- The telephone number and email are those of the organiser handling enquiries/bookings
- Finally the designation of the trip is identified, mostly a ‘pilgrimage’ but occasionally a ‘study tour’, a ‘retreat’, an ‘inter faith experience’ or other.
- The costs of each pilgrimage are deliberately excluded as we do not recommend that potential pilgrims make decisions on who to contact based on cost only when this can vary significantly according to time of the year, days of the week, hotels and cities selected, airlines, departure airports and what is included and excluded.
- If you are interested in the dates and departure airport, you are recommended to contact the organiser and for them to clarify the cost and answer your questions.
- FHL cannot guarantee availability on any pilgrimage listed as bookings are being received on an ongoing basis and they may become fully booked.
- FHL are purely listing pilgrimages and do not take any responsibility for the level of service or facilities provided by a tour operator.
- You are advised to read carefully their terms and conditions before booking.
- Where a location is not shown, that pilgrimage is open to pilgrims from all parts of the UK.
Travel protection - what does it mean?
ATOL stands for Air Transport Operator’s Licence. It is part of the Civil Aviation Authority as the UK's specialist aviation regulator and was established by Parliament in 1972. It is funded from the charges it raises from those whom it regulates and those to whom it provides services. In summary, ATOL provides financial security for the traveller and protects you in the event that your tour operator or airline ceases to trade while you are on pilgrimage (or holiday). As soon as you pay money (e.g. a deposit) to the tour operator, they should send you a copy of their ATOL certificate, which confirms that you and all in your party are covered. Further details can be found at www.caa.co.uk/ATOL
ABTA stands for Association of British Travel Agents. It offers an indication of the quality of your tour operator. It is the UK’s largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators that sell £37 billion of holidays and other travel arrangements each year. ABTA offers advice and guidance the travelling public, as well as leading the travel industry in supporting high service standards, working with our Members on health and safety, and promoting responsible tourism at home and abroad. In other words, membership of ABTA shows that you can expect high standards from your tour operator. Further information can be found at www.abta.com
AITO stands for The Association of Independent Tour Operators. It also offers an indication of the quality of your tour operator. The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) is an umbrella organisation that represents 122 of Britain's best independent tour operators. The members specialise in destinations or types of holiday about which they are particularly passionate, meaning they are uniquely placed to provide personalised advice based on first-hand experience. All AITO members are required to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction by concentrating on three main pillars: Choice, Quality and Service – as enshrined in the AITO Quality Charter. Further information can be found at www.aito.com