A few years ago one of our pilgrimage leaders, Ken Gray, enjoyed the movie The Way, starring Martin Sheen. Determined to finish his late son’s Camino journey, he carries cremated remains in an act of sacred disposition. The path followed is the historic pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a route and practice increasingly popular for many Canadians who seek time and space for a deeper engagement with life, love and the beauty of Creation. Many have been richly blessed by that particular historic walk. They identify the walk as both an invitation and a reward. The Camino however is not the only accessible pilgrimage. We can walk anywhere, anytime, especially throughout beautiful British Columbia, which many will during 2022 as part of a special Anglican Pilgrimage initiative.
There are many reasons to make a pilgrimage, alone or in community. Pilgrimages can be long or short — a half day, to a week or months. Some break walks into short sections depending on their availability; others have the opportunity for longer periods of time and travel. Time or circumstance are not the most important factors in making a pilgrimage. Intention and it’s first cousin, desire, are the most important requirements for a fruitful pilgrimage. Our pilgrimage is for adults of all ages and genders and will be facilitated by Ken Gray with Phil McIntyre-Paul and Michael Shapcott. Walks will occur over mostly level terrain. Each daily walk will be approximately 5-6 hours long with breaks and a bagged lunch (optional purchase with meals). A qualified first-aider will accompany the group and a support vehicle will be available. A supply list will follow.
So ask yourself a simple question — can you separate yourself for a time, from pressing commitments, from work or other activity, from the delights and demands of family life and friendship circles, just for a time, intentionally? As with much religion and spirituality, the intention to live and love differently, even briefly, will provide the necessary detachment to enter into a different creative, thoughtful or prayerful space.
A second feature of pilgrimage, in fact one of its greatest gifts, is the opportunity to discover in a new way your place in a messy, mucky world, by taking yourself out of the action, for a time and for a reason – personal, social and spiritual refreshment. An intentional walk/pilgrimage shaped by a director can increase self-awareness and help you reflect upon and cherish all your connections – with people, with nature and beauty, with all creation and with God-in-Jesus. If the above notes resonate with you, please consider joining us at the Sorrento Centre this fall.
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A resident of Kamloops since 2016 Ken recently retired from ordered ministry from St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Kamloops. Other ministry has taken him to many places throughout BC, Canada and in other provinces of the Anglican Communion. He is a popular facilitator of Ecojustice educational and training events including being one of the founders of the Justice Camps Initiative of our national church.
His connection with pilgrimage goes back to 1979 when he joined approximately 100 students from throughout the UK walking towards Holy Island, Lindisfarne. He is a longtime supporter, presenter and participant at Sorrento centre programmes. He is an active member of the Provincial Social and Ecological (SEJ) working group which sponsors this event.
He is a skilled amateur photographer, a lover of dogs and a passionate advocate for living the retirement life.