Spiritual Pilgrimage to Iona in 2016
At First Pres, a pilgrimage is an intentional spiritual journey. To travel to a place with sacred meaning is more than a vacation, but is an act of devotion with the goal of deepening one’s faith and creating relationships with other pilgrims. A pilgrimage is both a physical and holy journey as we take time to look to God for nurture. Over time, Christian pilgrims have historically journeyed to key sacred sites in Israel, Rome, Scotland (Iona), and France (Taize), among others.
Iona, an island off the coast of Scotland, is an enduring symbol of Christianity. St. Columba, an Irish priest, landed on Iona with his followers from Ireland in A.D. 563 and established a monastery. Today, Iona is a revitalized place of Christian communion, centered on a religious community established by George MacLeod in 1938. On Iona there is a restored Abbey that welcomes up to 50 guests each week, as well as thousands of pilgrims every day during the summer months. The Abbey provides a unique opportunity to live with people from all over the world and all walks of life. Guests and staff of the community share all aspects of life - meals, daily worship, programmed activities, chores and social events in a place that allows them to feel safe in exploring issues that challenge or concern them and to have space to reflect on their lives.
Since 2010, five groups of First Pres members and friends have journeyed to Iona, Scotland. People have spent a week at the Iona Community and returned with a deeper faith and commitment. We plan to send a group to Iona May 12—22, 2016. If you are interested, please contact Daniel Ervin, Resident Minister at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsored by the Adult Education Committee, these Iona Pilgrimages are self-funded and require an extensive orientation.
Santiago, Spain is another place of pilgrimage. This pilgrimage is a 500+ kilometer walk to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. This is called "The Way of St. James." The 2010 movie, "The Way", starring Martin Sheen, is an excellent portrayal of pilgrims on this journey. Since medieval times, it has been one of the most important Christian pilgrimages, particularly to Catholics. This is a walking pilgrimage, although many people take go by bike. Today, tens of thousands of pilgrims and many others set out each year for the Cathedral in Santiago.
2014 Camino Pilgrimage
In 2014, fourteen women from First Pres walked 100-kilometers of the Camino, sharing the journey with people from all over the world who are also "on the Way." As a spiritual pilgrimage, the group prepared by reading several books, and sharing how God has come to us along our own journeys of life. The trip was led by the Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers.