Suffolk Christians tour Holy Land

Image caption, The group had a good view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

A group of 23 Suffolk Christians have started their half term tour of the Holy Lands with a view across Jerusalem, followed by a Sunday morning service in the old city.

The Reverend Matthew Firth, assistant curate at St Matthew, Triangle & All Saints in Ipswich, described the group's first morning.

"We went straight to the Mount of Olives and had an amazing panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem," he said.

"It's a six day tour in half term so that some school-aged children can be with us as well.

"We'll be going around Jerusalem and into Bethlehem and Jericho, and then onto Galilee to think about Jesus's lakeside ministry."

Later in the week the group will experience Holy Communion in the Shepherds' Fields outside Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity, St Jerome's Cave and the Israel Museum in West Jerusalem.

They will then head onto to the Jordan Valley and then Galilee.

"We're all looking forward to walking in the places where Jesus walked, it'll be a special trip for everybody," said Mr Firth.

Unrest in the Middle East

The group's trip follows dramatic scenes in Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria and current anti-government protests in Bahrain and Libya.

"It is a concern," said Mr Firth. "We kept a close eye on it before and with our tour company and the foreign office, but the advice is that it's safe to travel.

"It's an all-aged trip so we've got children as young as 11 right up to someone in their 80s.

"Things seem very peaceful, I think a lot of Palestinians are quite philosophical about the changes.

"We haven't experienced any kind of protests or anything like that."

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