Pilgrimages

Pilgrims at Glendalough Gate No Caption

PILGRIMAGE TO IRELAND

September 13th – September 27th 2016

Join us to follow the Celtic Christian tradition of pilgrimage as sacred journey. We will visit sites associated with Brigit, Kevin, Patrick, Enda and others as we learn about their understanding of the earth as holy ground and the interconnection of all created beings. This pilgrimage will be contemplative – not just a rush from site to site – with daily meditation, discussion and worship. We will also experience the hospitality, music and fun of the Irish people of today. Leader: The Rev. Liz Canham.

For the Itinerary click here.

 

 

 

 

We are all on a journey. We travel with God, even if we never leave home, but when we are intentional about a day by day relationship with our Creator we discover the sacredness of our walk; we are on pilgrimage. As pilgrims travel they discover places of Holy encounter, sites made sacred by those who have gone before and sacred places in their own memories. The psalmist speaks of the blessedness of those “whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:4 BCP.) A pilgrimage is not a tour; the intention is not to collect more “stuff” but to prayerfully experience places and people in community with other travelers.

Here are some photos of past pilgrimages to Ireland.

Celtic Pilgrimages

Celtic Christian spirituality emerged from the early years of the church before the time of the creeds and counsels that established orthodoxy among Christians. It was grounded in the earth, honored a wandering kind of pilgrimage, and trusted in the leading of the Spirit. Monastic settlements were established in Ireland, Scotland and the north of England many of them incorporating the local people into dwellings around the monastery. Well known monastics include Brendan the Navigator, Brigid of Kildare, Kevin of Glendalough, Patrick, Columba of Iona, Hild of Whitby, and Aidan of Holy Island. Following the Council of Whitby in the 7th century CE, where the orthodox Roman church challenged the loosely organized Celtic Christian movement the Celtic Christians were defeated but their people continued to worship underground. Exquisite manuscripts have survived the ravages of the years and Viking invasions such as the Book of Kells now in Dublin and the Lindisfarne Gospels in London.

Celtic spirituality is appealing to many today as the church is undergoing a time of disintegration and an Emergent/Emerging Christianity is gaining purchase. God seems to be doing a new thing among us and the wisdom of Celtic forms of Christianity appeal to many who seek a simpler form of worship free from rigid expectations of belief. Our pilgrimages are designed to explore the richness of Celtic Christianity by visiting sites of early saints and settlements, learning more about their inclusive ideals and expressing our worship in this context. We meet daily for reflections, engage local clergy and lay people to guide us on pilgrimage and our group becomes a living community of seekers.

 

We are also planning a future pilgrimage to South Africa.

African Pilgrimages

Our pilgrimages to South Africa introduce us to the hope and pain of a country locked for many years in Apartheid. We enjoy and explore the many beautiful places in the country – oceans, mountains, rivers, vineyards, farms, game reserves – but we also visit places that hold memories of past oppression. The prison on Robben Island where the first black president, Nelson Mandela, was held for many of the 27 years he was in custody reveals the harshness of the Apartheid regime. The crowded Townships where poor people continue to live in shacks made of discarded timber, corrugated iron, cardboard and other imaginative items are there for us to visit today. The government has done much to improve the lot of the black majority who were disenfranchised by a white minority many of whom believed that they were the chosen race, but there is still much to be done to provide adequate housing and jobs for the poor. The country now has also to deal with very large numbers of refugees who daily cross the borders from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and even Nigeria.

Issues of social justice confront us on these pilgrimages and often lead to a commitment to work for the healing of communities back home as well as support for some of the work we see in South Africa. We also spend time with the animals that inhabit the country allowing them to teach us about the Creator. Zebra, Giraffe and Buck are abundant in the Game areas but we may turn a corner and almost run into an elephant herd crossing the dirt road or a Cape buffalo emerging from the bushes. Sometimes a big cat – lion, cheetah, and leopard – may appear and baboons are abundant and can be destructive if they get onto the hood of the vehicle. We meet with local clergy, nurses and social workers who take us into black neighborhoods to meet with the people in their homes, churches and soup kitchens. We also spend time in reflection together each day and are enriched by the insights and experiences we share.