Starting at the Bethphage Church, Steven Roberts blessed our olive branches and we read scripture, prayed, and sang "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" as we walked.
There is a beautiful painting inside the church depicting Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.
Next, we walked downward toward the Old City past the Mount of Olives cemetery, an extremely large Jewish burial area.
There was a super wonderful panoramic view of Jerusalem from this church and one can see the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount from here.
Continuing our walk, we headed down to the church built over the Garden of Gethsemane. While the word Gethsemane means "place of the olive press" and the actual garden is the entire huge area, there was a smaller garden full of olive trees, giant roses, bougainvillea, hollyhocks, and more.
Next to this garden is the Church of All Nations, also known as the Sanctuary of the Agony of Jesus Christ and The Basilica of Gethsemane.
Our final pilgrim site of the day was to the Church of St. Peter's in Gallicantu. Gallicantu means "cock's crow" and the weather vane is a rooster. It is a lovely church set on top of ruins of caves and dungeon areas and beside lengthy steps leading down into Jerusalem. Jesus walked these steps.
Now it was time for lunch and our pilgrims had a quick meal at the Notre Dame Center before dispersing to either walk in the old city or have a two hour break before heading out to the Dead Sea.
"Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Dead Sea"
It was 43 degrees out at the sea and this equals 109.5 It's safe to say it was HOT.
Half of our pilgrims waded in the water and several more floated (they tried to swim) in the sea. The other half enjoyed cool beverages and some social time. As Earth's lowest place of elevation on land, the shore is 1388 feet below sea level. Did I mention it was hot?!
After this exciting adventure, we gathered at Iyad Qumri's house in Jericho for a fabulous dinner and some down time! What amazing and generous hospitality! At the beginning of our pilgrimage, during our first meeting together, we selected a prayer partner from folded papers and prayed for them the entire trip. Since the NC group leave early, we revealed out partners tonight.
Gifts were exchanged between prayer partners and gifts were also given from the whole group to Iyad Qumri, Omar "the Magnificent" (our driver), John Peterson, and Canon Mark Stanger.