"Come and See" Pilgrimage Encounter in Palestine and Israel

"Come and See" Pilgrimage Encounter in Palestine and Israel

Opening/Closing Date: 
March 12, 2018 to June 4, 2018
Anticipated Start Date: 
October 12, 2018

The United Church’s People in Partnership program invites applications for a "Come and See" Pilgrimage to Palestine and Israel. This event is sponsored by Newfoundland and Labrador Conference and is open to ecumenical participation from across the country.

This 10-day pilgrimage, October 12–22, 2018, responds to a call from global partners in Palestine and Israel inviting partner churches to “come and see”— to witness and experience the lived realities of partners on the ground including multiple perspectives on mission, ministry, and advocacy in the region. It will have a special focus on the impact of occupation on children and youth.


  • To connect your faith with the places that were the setting for the life of Jesus and early Christians
  • To learn about, observe, and reflect on key issues in Palestine Israel, including the impact of occupation on children; the causes, impacts, and alleviation of conflict; the occupation, including Christian Zionism; and justice-seeking and advocacy efforts by Mission & Service partners and others around the world
  • To experience the context in which Christians, Jews, and Muslims live, and the importance of the Holy Land to each of these faith groups
  • To meet with United Church partners in Palestine Israel whose work is supported by the Mission & Service of the United Church
  • To learn more about the obstacles to and possibilities for peace in Palestine Israel, and what pilgrims can do to contribute to a just peace with reconciliation

Expected Outcomes

  • Participants will return and share with others the obstacles and possibilities for peace in Palestine and Israel, and contribute to growing efforts for a just peace with reconciliation among United Church communities and beyond, including the No Way to Treat a Child campaign
  • Participants will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of mission and ministries supported by the Mission & Service of the United Church in Palestine Israel and the context in which they are engaged
  • To strengthen the relationship with global partners in Palestine Israel

Program Components

  • Orientation sessions prior to the pilgrimage via Skype and/or conference calls
  • In-person meeting and community building in Toronto the day of departure (Oct. 12, 2018)
  • Debriefing and integration sessions upon return via Skype and/or conference calls
  • Pilgrims will be supported in developing strategies for sharing their experiences within their local communities of faith and the broader United Church

Trip Itinerary

  • Possible exposure visits include, for example: Palestinian villages threatened with demolition; visits with Palestinian Christian communities and projects in Galilee, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem; meetings with interreligious councils; visits with Palestinian and Israeli political leaders; visits with Palestinian youth detained in Israeli prisons and their families; visits to Sderot (north of Gaza)
  • Visits to local churches for worship and relationship building
  • Visits to Holy Land sites in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Galilee


Led by Hope Rowsell (past President of Newfoundland and Labrador Conference) and Patricia Mercer (returned Ecumenical Accompanier in the World Council of Church’s EAPPI programme)


  • The estimated cost per person is $3,900, which includes round-trip airfare, transit fees, and a daily program fee per person that covers all meals, accommodation, and programming.
  • Participants are responsible for a passport (valid through November 2019), travel medical insurance, and any immunizations required.
  • Participants can ask for funding from presbyteries, congregations, and other organizations. A template letter for participants to raise funds is available on request.
  • Youth (18+), young adults, and their leaders may be eligible for Vision Fund support.
  • Ministry personnel from East District of Newfoundland and Labrador may wish to contact the Newfoundland and Labrador Conference to apply for a $3,000 Holy Land Bursary (awarded each year in the spring, and this year to East District.) Contact: Faith March-MacCuish, executivesecretary [at] nfld.net.
To Apply

As the initial deadline has passed, applications are being reviewed and accepted as received. The pilgrimage is almost full. Only a few spots remain. Apply now to secure a spot.

For more information or to receive a registration form, contact the Come and See leaders:

  • Hope Rowsell, Past President of NL Conference, The United Church of Canada, e-mail: hrowsell [at] eastlink.ca
  • Patricia Mercer, returned Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine/Israel, e-mail: pmercer [at] nl.rogers.com

Additional Resources