Retracing Our Protestant Heritage
England & ScotlandJoin us as we go back in time to visit with both the Pilgrims and Reformers. It is one thing to read about our history as Americans and Protestants…it is another thing to be there. That is what this adventure will allow us to do. Come along with us on this out-of-the-ordinary faith journey to England and Scotland!
From a variety of cities, our group will gather in Atlanta. After we get acquainted at the airport, we will fly non-stop to England.
Upon our arrival in the capital of England, we will be met by our own motor coach and taken to the hotel for a five-night stay. After check-in, you’re on your own to rest or give in to the temptation to explore this exciting city. If shopping is your pleasure, you’ll find Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets rewarding. It’s always fun to stop in at Harvey Nichols, and Harrods (a favorite of the Royals). There’s always the delight of the gourmet paradise of Fortnum and Mason’s. You decide. Dinner and overnight in London.
Our focus this day will be upon major Protestant Reformers. We will motor to Bun Hill Fields Burial Ground, resting place of John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, John Newton and other Protestant dissenters. One of the persecuted Separatists, Thomas Helwys, helped found the first Baptist Church on English soil in 1612 at Spitalfields which is just outside London. Then we visit John Wesley’s home, chapel and Museum of Methodism, with an exhibit on George Whitefield (whose preaching helped in the spiritual preparation of colonists for the American Revolution). Next, we proceed to downtown London and Aldersgate where Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed”, and the Museum of London. Then we visit St. Paul’s Cathedral where great reformation ministers preached. After our evening meal, we will attend the evensong service at Westminster Abbey. Dinner and overnight London.
Our sightseeing tour this morning of London’s West End will highlight some of the world's most famous landmarks - Trafalgar Square, Nelson's column, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Piccadilly. Our morning will include a visit to the beautiful Westminster Abbey, the coronation church and burial place of English monarchs since William the Conqueror was crowned here on Christmas Day 1066, by the archbishop of Canterbury. We will also enjoy the color and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (subject to availability and weather). There will be time this afternoon to explore on our own: visit one of London’s many museums; tour Buckingham Palace; enjoy Hyde Park; or you may wish to take a boat trip on the Thames past the House of Parliament. Dinner and overnight London.
Less than an hour south of London is St. George’s Church, Gravesend. There we shall visit Pocohontas’ burial site. You will want your cameras handy this morning when we stop at stunning Leeds Castle (called “the loveliest castle in the world”). Traveling through Kent, the country known as the “Garden of England”, we make our way to ancient Canterbury with its glorious cathedral (the most important church within the worldwide Anglican faith and England’s Mother Church). There we will see signs of Celtic Christianity before the Catholic missionary Augustine arrived in 597 AD. We continue through quaint little villages to Dover, where we’ll see the famous White Cliffs standing 400 feet above sea level. Dover Castle still watches over the town for more than 800 years. On our return to London, we will see Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. Charles Spurgeon was an influential Baptist pastor and founder of an orphanage still in existence today. Dinner (traditional roast meal) and overnight in London.
In Bedford, we learn more about John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress. He was arrested and imprisoned for 12 years for preaching without a license from the Church of England. We see the plaque where the county goal stood in the 17th century and tour the Bunyan Meeting Church and Museum. We will stop at C.S. Lewis’ home and burial site in Holy Trinity Church. The afternoon’s highlight is Hampton Court. It was here, in 1604, that James I commissioned the King James Version of the Bible. Dinner and overnight in London.
Leaving the London area, we begin our journey north through the lovely countryside to Oxford, the “City of the Dreaming Spires”. There we will visit Lincoln College, where John Wesley founded the Holy Club, nicknamed “Society of Methodists”. George Whitfield, whose preaching in America was a significant part of the Great Awakening revivals was also a member of the Holy Club. Our coach will then take us to Epworth, birthplace of John and Charles Wesley. At the Old Rectory, we shall visit Wesley Memorial Church, recognizing the contribution made by John and Charles to Protestantism. Our day’s destination is the heart of England, York, where we will experience one of the most intact medieval walled cities in England. After walking a bit through a maze of quaint streets, including the narrow Shambles, we shall make our way for our visit of the stunning York Minster, the largest medieval cathedral in Northern Europe. We will have time to attend church service. Dinner and overnight in York.
Leaving the Yorkshire Dales, we'll head north though some of the most beautiful landscapes in the British Isles before arriving at one of the best-preserved segments of the 1,800-year-old Hadrian’s Wall. The wall was built by the Romans when England was part of their empire. This wall was to prevent military raids by tribes living in what is now Scotland. This afternoon our attention shifts dramatically as we enter the land of Celtic mists and legends with its indescribable atmosphere unique in the entire world …Scotland…the Motherland of the Reformed Church. Here we will learn so much more about Scotland’s role in the Protestant Reformation. This is our first of four nights in Edinburgh.
After our days of travel, we are going to savor this entire day of leisure. You are free to do anything you wish...shopping for tartan plaid…browsing along Princess Street for cashmere, mohair, Shetland sweaters or hand-woven tweeds…or trying on your very first kilt. You may even wish to play golf where it all started. Our guide will have all sorts of suggestions to make and can assist in your arrangements as you plan your very own day. Such stories we’ll be able to share with the rest of our group as we get back together for an evening meal…featuring Highland dancers and bagpipes. This is second night in Edinburgh.
Today we will come to understand why Edinburgh is “The Prince of Cities”. Since our arrival, we have been viewing atop the volcanic “crag where Edinburgh began”, the majestic Castle. Here, King James, son of Mary Queen of Scots, was born. James eventually became king of England and Scotland, and the two crowns have been united ever since. Scotland's religious history can be seen at St. Giles' Cathedral, regarded as the mother church of Presbyterianism. After the Reformation, John Knox became St. Giles' first minister. As we drive along Princes Street, the main shopping thoroughfare, we can compare the wide streets and elegant mansions of the 200-year-old Georgian "New Town" with the narrow lanes and medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile, the oldest part of the city. Our tour will include John Knox’s home; the Scott Memorial; the “High Kirk” of St. Giles Cathedral (Thistle Chapel) where John Knox was minister and where he spent most of his Reformation years preaching boldly and fervently from the pulpit. When we visit the imposing Castle, we will enjoy a splendid view of the city. Included in our tour will be: The University of Edinburgh; Greyfriars and the Mound; and Holyrood House (residence of the Queen on her visits to Edinburgh). Dinner and overnight in Edinburgh.
On this day we head north to St. Andrews, one of Scotland's oldest university towns, where we visit the Cathedral and places associated with John Knox and George Wishart. Knox attended St. Andrews’ University and did his first preaching at the Castle, from where he was taken by the French. Our next stop is Stirling Castle, high on a volcanic outcrop, which played a major part in the Scottish struggle against English domination. The castle was also the childhood home of the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots. After visiting the castle, we take a scenic journey around Loch Lomond toward the Trossachs region. This region of lochs, valleys and forests served as the scene for the battles of t. he Scottish heroes Robert the Bruce and William Wallace (Braveheart) against the English foe. Dinner and overnight in Edinburgh.
How quickly the time has come for us to return. Surely, we will bring with us a lifetime of memories and a brand-new appreciation for the bold Reformers of the church and the brave Pilgrims who migrated to this country in search of religious freedom. We will arrive home thanking God for our American-Protestant heritage!