Turtle Island Pilgrimage for Earth Justice & Peace

May 9, 2016 - May 15, 2016
Offered by Five Oaks Centre

Turtle Island Pilgrimage for Earth Justice & Peace


Co-sponsored by Five Oaks Centre, Kirkridge Center and the GO Project

When we live a full life of contemplation-and-action, we will be compelled to search the depths…. in those depths we can find the hidden wholeness that unites and energizes us, the source and the power that make us fully alive. ~ Parker J. Palmer

From May 9th to May 15th, 2016, over a period of seven days, young adults will be a significant presence among other Canadian and American pilgrims on a sacred journey from Kirkridge Center in Pennsylvania to Five Oaks Centre in Ontario. The World Council of Churches describes our kind of pilgrimage this way: to work together in a common quest, renewing the true vocation of the church through collaborative engagement with the most important issues of justice and peace. This pilgrimage will focus especially on ecological healing and right relations with Aboriginal peoples.

A core group of pilgrims will be joined by others at various locations for special shared events enroute.

Pilgrimage is a deeply inner spiritual practice coupled with strong outer, creative action to meet the moral challenges of our time, connecting with Spirit, Self, Each other and Nature (from Five Oaks Centre’s mission statement) . Such practice will unite and energize work of eco-justice and right relations in our own varied contexts.

Building on recent experience of youth and young adult pilgrimages including the United Church of Canada’s Youth Forum pilgrimage to General Council 42, our goals are to:

  • deepen our experience of pilgrimage as a spiritual practice;
  • discover new friendships within an international community that “pickets and prays” (a statement of Kirkridge Center’s historic commitment)
  • provide pilgrims – young and older – with an opportunity to give and receive leadership within an international collaboration with the GO Project and two ‘sister centres’: Five Oaks and Kirkridge. Our centres enjoy an historic relationship of mutual support and commitment to spiritual formation and leadership development. The GO Project shares our interest in the sharing of ideas, resources and people across borders.

The first 2-3 days will be spent at Kirkridge and sites in the United States, connecting with local youth and young adults who share a passion for faith and eco-justice. A border-crossing walk over the Peace Bridge will be a public symbol of our pilgrimage, followed by our arrival at Five Oaks with a labyrinth walk, echoing the early pilgrims’ experience upon arrival at Chartres Cathedral. After that we move on to an evening and day of engagement with Haudenosaunee history, culture and the legacy of the Indian Residential School System, on Six Nations territory. Over the final two days pilgrims will reflect on their pilgrimage experiences and plan for their ongoing engagement and leadership in our own contexts.

One of the features of this pilgrimage is its modular nature. Stand-alone events enroute will offer others an opportunity to join us in mutual encouragement and learning.

10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 will join other adult pilgrims in the core group. The intergenerational nature of our group will encourage mutual learning and leadership development. It will also benefit youth between the ages of 14 and 18 and young adults who join us for stand-alone events at Kirkridge, Five Oaks, and in between.

Pilgrims will benefit by: 

  • having fun together and building relationships
  • Learning about right relations with the larger Earth community and with First Nations communities, across generations, connecting Spirit, Self, One another and Nature
  • Learning about the urgent environmental challenges of our time, and the legacy of residential schools, in a safe environment where they are supported in their listening and questioning
  • Nurturing spiritual practice through times of reflection, ritual, ceremony, and deep listening to self, Holy Mystery, Earth, elders and one another

Leadership: The pilgrimage will be led by Michael Shewburg,          Co-creator and Minister to the GO Project, with support from Jean Richardson, Executive Director of Kirkridge Retreat Center, Mardi Tindal, former Executive Director of Five Oaks Centre and former United Church Moderator, and Robin McGauley, Program Director of Five Oaks Centre.

Cost: Grants to provide significant subsidies are being pursued. Please contact us with your interest in this pilgrimage and we will provide you with information about cost as soon as it is available.

If you are Canadian please register through Five Oaks. A link will be posted below once the cost is finalized.
If you are American then please register through Kirkridge.

If you aren’t able to attend the whole pilgrimage then consider joining us for a shorter stretch. A program dedicated to reconciliation with First Nations will be offered on the Thursday and Friday of the pilgrimage and it is open for anyone who wants to join us. Click here for details.