Editor’s Note: Following its publication, this piece was edited to correct for differences in various accounts provided by those on the tour.
When about a dozen members of Prince of Peace Anglican Church in Hopewell Township signed up for a tour of Israel’s religious sites that left Oct. 2, they had no idea they’d be taking refuge in a bomb shelter due to a Hamas attack, or making an unexpected three-hour ride to Amman, Jordan.
The group had booked a Shoresh Study Tour, which is part of the organization The Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People, or CMJ. Founded in 1809 in England, CMJ explores the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
The tour included several sites including Caesarea, the artificial seaport built by Herod the Great; Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus; and Capernaum, where Jesus’s ministry was centered. They then headed to the Jordan River for a dunking in the same river in which Jesus was baptized, which Prince of Peace assistant pastor, Philip Bottomley, a native of England, called a “recommitment” ceremony and some tourists call a “second baptism.”