Bishop Watson to Lead Tour of the Holy Land


By Glenn Hannigan
North Georgia Advocate


The Rev. Dan Wagner calls it a "once-in-a-lifetime trip." And though Wagner just made his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land 20 months ago, he is eager for a return visit.

"This is something every Christian should experience," said Wagner, senior pastor of St. Mark UMC in Augusta. "There were many deeply spiritual moments, times I felt touched by the Holy Spirit. It almost knocked me to my knees. It is hard to describe."

For his return visit in four months, Wagner plans on bringing a group from St. Mark to accompany him.

Bishop Mike Watson will lead the pilgrimage, which departs Atlanta on Feb. 16.

This 10-day journey will inlcude many of the sacred sites where Jesus walked and ministered. Visitors will go to Capernahum, the Mount of Beatitudes, the Church of the Fish and the Loaves, and enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. From the Galilee area they will travel to Beit Shean, Nazareth, Megiddo, and Caesarea by the Sea. The journey will go through Jericho and the site of the temptation of Jesus, the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem.

In Jerusalem travelers will see the Pool of Bethesda, stand on the Mount of Olives, walk the Kidron Valley, pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, walk the Via Dolorosa, visit the place of Jesus’ trial and Golgotha, the place of the crucifixion. And the group will visit the site of the Resurrection at the Garden Tomb.

"There is so much to see it can be hard to take it all in," Wagner said. "I am looking forward to going back so I can absorb more this time. Going to the Holy Land has given me a greater appreciation, understanding and perspective for teaching and preaching.

"It can be very emotional to realize you are seeing the very same steps that Jesus stood on and where he taught from."

For a brochure with detailed information, contact Dr. Jamie Jenkins at or 678-533-1372.

This article ran in the October 3, 2009 edition of the North Georgia Advocate. To subscribe or renew, visit