In a first for The Church of England in Lancashire, the Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev. Philip North, is producing a daily video blog (or ‘vlog’) reflecting on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
From today, Bishop Philip is leading a 10-day trip to Israel which has been coordinated by Rev. Damian Porter, Vicar of Torrisholme The Ascension.
The first vlog, live now on the Diocesan YouTube channel, features Bishop Philip speaking from Nazareth. He says: “I wish you could be with us, but if you follow this vlog every day you can be a virtual pilgrim following us as we make our way through the holy sites of the Holy Land.”
More than 40 intrepid parishioners from across the County will be on the trip – hailing from Appley Bridge to Tunstall and from Colne to Kirkham; as well as Blackburn Cathedral and many other places in Lancashire.
The schedule is busy; the first four days take in Nazareth, Northern Galilee and the Mediterranean Coast; then the party move hotels for a further six nights based in Jerusalem.
From their Bethlehem base the travellers’ Holy Land stops will include Bethlehem; the Mount of Olives; Jericho, Bethany and Mount Zion.
As they pass through the Holy Land the visitors will get the chance to celebrate the Eucharist in some of the most famous locations from The Bible; visit key churches and, when they get a chance to relax, sample local culinary delicacies.
Each day of the trip, beginning today and continuing until November 23, Bishop Philip will record a short two-minute vlog which will be posted to the Diocesan YouTube channel and shared on other Diocesan social media channels including Twitter and Facebook. You can view the first vlog here.
The ambitious vlog is a first for the Diocese. The videos will be recorded on location in the Holy Land each day, using a high-quality iPhone mic for the best possible sound, before being sent back to Diocesan Communications Manager, Ronnie Semley, who will prepare and upload them daily. The links will also be posted each day on other Diocesan social media channels including Twitter and Facebook.
Bishop Philip adds: “This visit to the Holy Land will be very special for me and for the people with whom I am sharing the 10 days.
“We will be walking in the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and it is fantastic to be able to share a daily reflection about our experiences with people back home via the vlog.”
Other people on the trip will be tweeting their activities over the 10-day pilgrimage while using the official Diocesan Twitter account handle @cofelancs.
Tweeters include Bishop Philip himself (via @bpburnley) and Mandy Stanton, the Diocesan Discipleship and Ministry Development Officer, who is going on the trip and will be tweeting on her own account @mandyhstanton as well as the national @OurCofELike Twitter account, using the hashtag #lancspilgrims
Pictures from the trip will also be posted periodically to the Diocesan Flickr page.
Trip organiser, Rev. Damian Porter, added: “I have been to the Holy Land several times and every time you go it’s a different experience. Bishop Philip joining us on the pilgrimage this time will help to bring fresh insight.
“Pilgrimages like this one are an opportunity to learn and grow, both individually and collectively. Having walked with Jesus through the land He made holy, people will be better equipped to walk with Him in the place they are called to serve across Lancashire.”