On the concluding evening of their pilgrimage, General Theological Seminary welcomed to the Close and hosted a dinner in Chelsea for participants in The Episcopal Peace Fellowship's 2013 Young Adult Urban Pilgrimage to New York City.
The Pilgrimages are an alternative spring break program for college students and young adults. Led by the Rev. Stephanie Shockley, GTS '09, the New York City pilgrimage, March 8-12, 2013, explored issues of urban economic inequality, especially through the lens of recovery from natural disaster. Pilgrims visited grassroots relief hubs after Hurricane Sandy in Midland Beach and New Dorp, Staten Island; the Red Hook Volunteers in Brooklyn; the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Brooklyn, a distribution center for Occupy Sandy; and the African Burial Ground and Museum located in the financial district. Pilgrims also took in New York City sights on their own, including a Broadway show and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. "It was my hope," Shockley said, "that these would feel so different from the hurricane zone as to be very jarring."
The young adults spent the last hours of their pilgrimage in retreat, reflecting on their experience, with Shockley and the Rev. Valerie Bailey Fisher, a Th.D. candidate at General who is also Rector of St. Mark's Episcopal, Teaneck, New Jersey, and a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship's National Executive Council. The retreat time included a visit to General's Chapel of the Good Shepherd for Evening Prayer, officiated by Mark Genzler, an M. Div. middler, and dinner at a local Chelsea restaurant hosted by the seminary's Center for Christian Spirituality (CCS). "Jesus was both a man of prayer and an advocate for the poor," said the Rev. K. Jeanne Person, CCS Director. "The CCS sponsored the dinner both with gratitude for the pilgrims and in recognition of the interrelationship between spirituality and social justice work."
Also participating in the dinner were the pilgrims' chaplain, the Rev. Amanda Brady, GTS '97, who currently ministers as the Episcopal chaplain at Emory University, and Michael Kurth, the Faith Community Coordinator at Covenant House International in New York City and a lay leader at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Manhattan. Kurth also serves on the Episcopal Peace Fellowship's National Executive Council.