In the first five weeks of Lent more than 16,000 pilgrims from all over the world including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Japan, Brazil, Israel and Europe went on Christian Aid’s Journey to Jerusalem www.christianaid.org.uk/pilgrimage making it the biggest virtual pilgrimage of its kind.
Journey to Jerusalem gives people the chance to watch short videos, photo galleries, read stories, pray in the places where Jesus preached, and exchange a few thoughts on the subject during their ‘travels’. Pilgrims meet local Christians, Jews and Muslims living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories today, hear their personal stories and hear how the conflict touches their lives.
So far the pilgrims have passed through Bethlehem, Hebron, Gaza and Sderot, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and Galilee. The next stop is the West Bank, arriving in Jerusalem for Holy Week of Easter where people will be able to watch the Easter video address by Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, and Maundy Thursday’s podcast of Lord’s prayer in Aramaic.
One pilgrim called Anne commented online: ‘After watching the terrible scenes of house demolition and humiliation in Qalqiliya … and the terrible devastation this brings to communities, I am amazed and humbled by the knowledge that there can still be trust between the two peoples...’
Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, said: ‘The brilliance of Christian Aid’s online pilgrimage is that it enables all of us to understand the importance of the Holy Land today and how precious it is to Christians, Muslims and Jews alike. In Holy Week I would urge people to look at the pilgrimage and as Easter approaches to see in Christ’s triumph over death a message of hope for the disposed, the refugees and those affected by conflict and violence in this part of the world.
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Notes to Editors:
Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in 49 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.