And we walked . . . different folks in different places; some folks in more than one place; some for the very first time in the way of a pilgrim, while others walked for the umpteenth time. We walked for all sorts of reasons – some for spiritual refreshment, others for recreation. Some walked as part of a decision-making quest and others for other deeply personal reasons.
We all enjoyed a closer relationship with the land – some in the Shuswap ranging out from the Sorrento Centre; others through Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Some walked through the woods of Metchosin and the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island; Others gathered at Anglican camps in Kelowna and near Smithers in the Diocese of Caledonia. In every place we savoured the dry (drought) beauty which surrounded us, and listened to the stories shared by Indigenous storytellers. As the fruit of God’s love appeared in the physique of creation we realized that we with all creation are part of the story of God’s creative and creating love.
We walked as part of a movement now growing all across our Ecclesiastical Province, a geographical entity which spans from Whitehorse, Yukon to the southern tip of Vancouver Island and eastward to the Alberta border. A movement is building through the imagination and industry of the Social and Ecological Justice Working Group (SEJ) presently including representatives from all dioceses and a Territory except presently Yukon. We intend these pilgrimages to become part of our spiritual DNA, as an annual series of events focused mainly on the Season of Creation (Sept 1 – Oct 4) but also welcome and encouraged at other times.
The agenda of a recent planning meeting included thoughts about the place, style, content and leadership of future pilgrimages. These might be intentional walks ranging from an afternoon to four or more days in length. Additional sites now under consideration include the South Okanagan in addition to another series from the Sorrento Centre. We imagine more parish-centred walks and a few at the deanery or other group level. Ecumenical and interfaith participants are most welcome. Some pilgrimages might be intensively contemplative; others more verbal and educational. We will likely laugh . . . and sing!
In all these walks we continue to make creation care, healing and reconciliation, individual and communal prayer central to our planning and practice. For those who gather, to the best of our ability we seek to care for the spirit, body, heart and mind of participants. We negotiate limits and share passions in a community of growing trust. In all things we seek love—for ourselves, for the stranger and for the friend. We embrace the quiet and the noisy amongst us. We do everything for the love of our Creator and for the love of creation.
So watch this space, and as opportunities appear please consider joining a 2023 pilgrimage adventure. Tell your family and friends. For a deeper understanding of some of our 2022 pilgrimages, visit the following sites:
A pilgrimage close to home (Vancouver Island)
To be a pilgrim (Sorrento Centre
One foot forward