Bishop Julius Trimble, along with his wife Racelder Grandberry-Trimble, will lead a trip to the Holy Land in January 2014.
"Holy Land Classic 2014 – 10 Breathtaking Days of Biblical Understanding" departs January 30 and returns February 8.
“I’m looking forward to being in the land of the Bible,” Bishop Trimble said. “The Bible literally comes alive when you’re in that part of the world.”
The Bishop and Mrs. Trimble invite clergy and lay people alike to join them on the pilgrimage.
“We’re looking forward to the trip,” said Bishop Trimble. “It’s one of the few times that as a Bishop, and my wife, we have the opportunity to, really on a more personal level, get to know laity and clergy, and certainly in a more intimate travel environment.”
Bishop Trimble said that simply by virtue of the time spent en route to and from the Holy Land that travelers learn to support one another.
Bishop Trimble encourages people to be prepared and ready to put on their walking shoes for the Holy Land trip, because along with fellowship, travelers will cover a lot of ground, literally and figuratively.
“My wife and I don’t call this a vacation,” Bishop Trimble said. “Because you get up early in the morning and you’re going to be part of a worshipping community, and be part of a community that’s actually engaging in live biblical study.”
The Bishop has always held that it’s important for pastors to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land early in their ministry as an integral part of their ongoing formation.
He affirmed that his first visit to the Holy Land was transformative for him.
“It was indeed a life-changing experience,” said Bishop Trimble. “I came back reading the Bible with a fresh set of eyes. And I came back understanding some of the parables and some of the nuances of Scripture in a different way.”
Rev. Len Eberhart, one of the Iowa Conference's coordinators for Educational Opportunities, the trip’s sponsor, concurred with the importance for clergy to make the Holy Land pilgrimage at the outset of their ministry.
“I have a strong conviction and a strong commitment, which the Bishop and Racelder share, that newly ordained persons really need to go soon in their career rather than later so that they have this sort of first-person experience of being in the place of our spiritual heritage,” Rev. Eberhart said.
“I have not heard a person who’s had that experience who hasn’t come back and just said, I understand and experience Scripture differently,” said Rev. Eberhart.
Preachers understand and function differently as well after experiencing the Holy Land, he said.
“Bible studies come alive,” Rev. Eberhart said.
“Everything that is connected with these places take on life and become animated,” he continued. “And that’s just so essential in my mind for persons early in their career to have this experience.”
Rev. Eberhart also noted the substantial benefit for lay people to experience the Holy Land.
“To have some of your laity participate in an experience like this, there’s just a synergy that comes from that once they return home,” he said. “I just see a lot of side benefits, long-term benefits that can accrue from that.”
Rev. Eberhart recalled that for him too, the first time visiting the Holy Land was an overwhelming and powerfully moving experience.
“It’s one of those trips I just think that every person of faith ought to make,” Rev. Eberhart said.
Bishop Trimble detailed some particulars of personal spiritual benefit from being in the Holy Land.
“It’s a wonderful thing to literally put your foot in the Jordan River and to experience a renewal of baptism,” said Bishop Trimble. “To be at the Garden of Gethsemane and to be places we know where Jesus was and many of the persons that we know from the Bible had their beginning.”
“It really is kind of a spiritual homecoming,” Bishop Trimble said.
The ten-day Holy Land Classic 2014 includes a visit to the Sea of Galilee, with Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes and the Chapel of the Primacy. Nazareth, Megiddo and Caesarea are also on the itinerary, as are Jericho, Qumran and the Mount of Olives. Jerusalem and Bethlehem, the Old City, the Western wall, Pol of Bethesda and Church of the Holy Sepulchre round out the guided portion of the trip.
An optional self-directed day at Masada and the Dead Sea comprise day eight, followed by a concluding day in Jerusalem, the Israel Museum, Shrine of the Book and the Garden Tomb.
Much more detail can be found in the trip brochure, and a number of additional optional trip extensions are detailed in there as well.
The brochure can be accessed HERE.
A video introduction is available HERE.
Bishop Trimble said there are a lot of reasons to look forward to the Holy Land pilgrimage.
“I’m also looking forward to being in a region of the world where there is much prayer needed,” he said. “Where harbingers of hope and travelers of peace can come.”
Bishop Trimble said that he looked forward to praying at the Wailing Wall as thousands do each day.
“Literally praying for Syria and praying for that region of the world,” said Bishop Trimble. “That peace would be a reality in our lifetime.”
For more information on the trip or to register, contact Rev. Len and Diane Eberhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641.236.4990.