CLOGHER PILGRIMAGE – JORDAN
CLOGHER PILGRIMAGE – JORDAN
31st October ~ 8th November 2011
‘Clogher Diocese has now become renowned for interesting and meaningful
pilgrimages. We have visited the Holy Land on three occasions in less than
18 months. Every Pilgrimage has been over subscribed. Our Fourth Pilgrimage
is now planned for October/November 2011 and will be to Jordan. This will
offer an opportunity of a lifetime to explore the world of the Old Testament
and of John the Baptist. Spiritually the desert will provide the personal
and corporate space to prepare for Advent and Christmas. The link between
the earlier Pilgrimages and the 2011 Pilgrimage is, of course, the River
Jordan itself. I encourage you to take this unique invitation to go deeper
and to strengthen the faith which binds us together and holds us in the palm
of God’s hand.’
We depart from Belfast on our flight to Amman via London Heathrow. On arrival
at Queen Alia airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel in Amman
Day 2 – Umm Qais / Um Qais / Jerash
In the New Testament period, north Jordan was the region of the Decapolis
(Greek for ‘ten cities’), where Jesus taught and performed miracles
(Matthew 4:25; Mark 5:20). The city of Gardara (modern Um Qais), with its
spectacular panoramic views overlooking the Sea of Galilee, is the site of
Jesus’ miracle of the Gadarene swine, where he sent demented spirits
out of two men into a herd of swine. They ran down the hill and drowned in
the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:28-34). Lunch at Um Qais. Drive to Gerasa (Jerash)
where we visit the most complete and best-preserved Graeco-Roman city in
the Middle East.
Dinner and overnight Amman.
Day 3 – Amman city tour / Madaba / Petra
The region around the Jordanian capital of Amman was known in the Bible as
Ammonite Kingdom (Deuteronomy 2:37; Samuel 10:2) famed for its springs and
citadel. Its massive fortifications are still standing, where David arranged
for Uriah the Hittite to die in battle in order to marry his widow Bathsheba.
Visit the Church of Christ the Redeemer in Amman. We drive to Madaba, “The
city of Mosaics”, there we see the 6th Century Byzantine mosaic map
of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George that depicts the Holy Land as
early Christians saw it. We continue to Mukawir, Herod’s hilltop fortress.
Dinner and overnight in Petra.
Day 4 – Petra, the Rose-Red City
The ancient fortress-city of Petra, which means “stone” in Greek,
was the capital of the Nabateans, who carved this wonderland of temples,
tombs and elaborate buildings out of solid rock and who grew rich by levying
taxes on travellers to ensure safe passage through their lands.
Petra’s exquisite ruins open doorways in time to the biblical land
of Moab and the nearby Valley of Moses. The plains of Moab were so named
because this area once fell under the control of King Eglon of Moab in the
Iron Age (Judges 3:12-14).
To these plains, the wide floor of the Jordan Valley east of the Jordan River,
Moses finally brought his people after their epic wilderness journey. Here
is where Joshua prepared the people for the crossing of the river into Canaan
(Joshua 3:1). The area’s principal water source, Ain Moussa (spring
of Moses), held to be one of the many places where Moses struck a rock with
his staff to bring forth water (Numbers 20:10-12). Aaron’s final resting
place lies atop nearby Mount Hor, now called Jabal Haroon (Mount Aaron).
Dinner and overnight in Petra.
Day 5 – Wadi Rum / Dead Sea
We leave Petra and visit Wadi Rum where we enjoy a 4 x 4 jeep ride into the
desert of Lawrence of Arabia fame, have lunch in the desert and then drive
to Aqaba for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – Aqaba
In addition to some free time, we hope our friend Reverend Cameron Macdonald
(Mission to Seamen) will be able to arrange a boat trip on the Red Sea (optional)
and visits to meet some local Christians.
Dinner and overnight.
Day 7 – Lot’s Cave / Baptism Site
This morning we drive to Lot’s Cave, via the beautiful Wadi Feifeh
road near Tafileh, along the King’s Highway. Here, after fleeing Sodom,
Lot and his daughters are said to have lived (Genesis 19:30). The Bible says
Lot’s daughters gave birth to sons whose descendants would become the
Ammonite and Moabite people (Genesis 19:31-38), whose kingdoms were in what
is now central Jordan. We continue to the Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan Baptism
Site. The winding loop in the Jordan River opposite Jericho has long been
considered the place of Jesus’ baptism. It is known in Arabic as Al-Maghtas
(the baptism site). Here the spirit of God descended like a dove upon Jesus,
and a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love; with him
I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17, NIV). About a kilometre east of
the river, beyond the thick belt of trees and bush that the Bible calls “the
jungle of the Jordan” or “the pride of the Jordan” (Jeremiah
12:5, Zechariah 11:3), the landscape abruptly changes into a stark and barren
area known in the Bible as the “wilderness”. It was in this wilderness
that Jesus went to fast for forty days and nights after his baptism. The
term “Bethany” refers both to the general area between the ancient
town and the river (this should not be confused with the village of Bethany
outside Jerusalem, where the Bible says Lazarus was raised from the dead).
The hill at the heart of Bethany, know as Tel Mar Elijah (Elijah’s
Hill), is revered as the spot where Elijah descended to heaven.
Dinner and overnight Amman.
Day 8 – Mount Nebo / Macharis
This morning we visit Mount Nebo (also known as Pisgah), to see where Moses
glimpsed the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-5). Early Christians revered
this spot and made pilgrimages to it from Jerusalem. A small church was built
in the 4th Century A.D. to commemorate the end of the life of Moses and was
subsequently expanded into the present large basilica with its stunning collection
of Byzantine mosaics. We continue to Mukawir (also known as Machaerus), and
see where John the Baptist was beheaded after Salome’s fateful dance
for her step-father (Matthew 14:3-11).
Dinner and overnight.
Transfer to airport for our return flight to Belfast via London Heathrow.
‘TOWARDS THE PROMISED LAND’
(By Revd Glenn West)
Our earthly pilgrimage towards the eternal Promised Land is a journey in
which we seek to encounter and understand God through worship and prayer,
through Scripture, our church and our life experiences. Our diocesan pilgrimages
are all designed to bring these threads together in a meaningful and engaging
Jordan is a relatively small, elongated country to the east of the Jordan
valley and to the east of Israel (the Promised Land of Canaan). It has a
rich and unbroken legacy in the birth and development of the Christian faith.
Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Elijah were prophets who journeyed westward through
this area to the Promised Land and Petra (perhaps Jordan’s most famous
world heritage site) was a staging post for the 3 wise men from the east
who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the new born ‘prince of
It was in the area to the south and east of the Dead Sea that an aged Abraham
fathered two sons, Ishmael whose seed became the Arabic tribes – the
sons of the east, and Isaac whose seed became Israel, the sons of the west.
Here too more liberal western Islam touches much more conservative eastern
In the north Jew and Muslim share the drinking water of the Sea of Galilee
and in the south where Eilat (Sinai/Israel) and Aqaba (Jordan) face each
other across the Red Sea the beautiful sweeping sandy beach and crystal clear
sea water are other natural resources shared by both. Here the cultural diversity
of swimming and bathing habits couldn’t be more different and more
Noah’s tomb at Keraic is but one of the reminders of the unbroken
and shared continuity between the three Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Islam,
Throughout scripture God repeatedly designated this a land of peace and
refuge. The reconciliation of Jacob and Laban and Jacob and Esau are two
examples of Jordan’s enduring symbolism as a place where humans learned
and applied God’s command to love one another and to be merciful, tolerant,
humble and forgiving.
God appeared frequently – often dramatically, and encountered humankind
in this particular area; the Red Sea parted for the Israelites; Moses ushered
water forth from the rock, Lot’s wife turned to salt, Jacob wrestled
with God, Balaam climbed the mountain and Ruth found refuge.
When we read of the suffering of Job we are also aware that the book describes
the patriarchal social structures and pastoral economy so typical of the
almost lunar like Wadi Rum and South Jordan.
It is here that many recognise parallels between Elisha and Jesus; both
pursued travelling ministries, both had followers or disciples, both challenged
political powers and indeed performed similar miracles including cleansing
lepers and bringing the dead back to life.
At Bethany in Jordan (not the same Bethany on the eastern slope of the Mount
of Olives) Elijah ascended and both John the Baptist and Jesus began their
Christ’s teachings in this region include the Kingdom of Heaven belongs
to little children, advice to the rich young ruler, the first shall be last
and the last first and the healing of the demon possessed man.
The life of John the Baptist ended in cruel fashion in Jordan and it was
from the area of the 10 Graeco-Roman cities of the Decapolis in the north
that Jesus started out on his last journey to his cruel crucifixion in Jerusalem.
During the time of the early church and following his conversion on the
Damascus Road St Paul spent some time in Jordan. It was at impressive Petra,
among the many temples and tombs that he apparently formulated some of his
Jordan is rich in archaeological remains; they include the remains of the
earliest and oldest church in the world at Aqaba, ‘the port city of
Solomon’, and a mosaic of the oldest known map of the Holy Land at
Magaba, ‘the city of mosaics’.
Christians comprise only 6% of the population of the country. Present church
congregations (the Living Stones) include Anglicans (under the Bishop of
Jerusalem – Bishop Suheil), Latin and Greek Orthodox. The parish school
at the growing Church of Christ the Redeemer in the capital Amman (present
rector Revd Fadi Diab) has an unfamiliar perspective on male/female co-education,
but many congregations have interesting stories to tell in their continuing
witness to the faith. So too does the Revd Cameron MacDonald of the Mission
to Seamen who works at the port of Aqaba.
We have a thematic approach to our pilgrimages. Each has a distinctive
emphasis. Our previous visits to Israel reflected on the birth, death and
resurrection of our Lord (Advent 2008, Lent 2009 and Easter 2010).
In Luke Chapter 16 verse 16 we read:
‘The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time
the good news of the Kingdom of God is being preached and everyone is forcing
his way into it’.
Our Jordan pilgrimage will form part of our 2011 Advent preparations as
we focus on those who prepared (proclaimed) the way of Jesus Christ.
This is a new pilgrimage destination for our diocese. Whether to complement
our previous pilgrimages or as a stand alone experience we commend it for
your consideration and invite expressions of interest.
Bishop Michael Jackson
Revd Glenn West (( 02866 346870) email@example.com
Revd David Skuce (( 028677 21250) firstname.lastname@example.org