Urban Pilgrimage New York Leadership Opportunity for Seminarians

Interested in learning how to lead short-term pilgrimages in urban and rural communities? The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is now offering four-day intensive training program designed to equip church leaders to introduce young adults to pressing social justice issues, using the Urban Pilgrimage model. Cost is $150 per participant, plus travel to and from the training site. Registration in teams of 2-3 is strongly encouraged.

Urban Pilgrimage site director training dates are as follows:

Austin: October 23-26, 2014 Miami: February 2015 (exact dates TBD) New York City: March 5-8, 2015. If enough General students are interested, a training program date will be set up based on student availability during the January term.

EPF is looking for young adults who have had some urban ministry or social services experience to lead five-day spring break service learning projects in the New York area in March. Through service to and solidarity with people on the margins of society, Pilgrimage participants are challenged to reflect on love of God and neighbor and grow in an understanding of social justice as a spiritual practice. Each Pilgrimage is designed to provoke reflection and action on issues as varied as homelessness, educational inequity, immigration, food production and environmental stewardship, and disaster response while giving participants tools to begin seeing themselves as agents of change in their home communities.

The Urban Pilgrimage Initiative was started in 2006 by the Rev. Valerie Bailey Fischer, an Episcopal priest and Th.D student in Anglican Studies and Church History at General. Mother Bailey led the first pilgrimage in New York City when she was a candidate for Holy Orders from the Diocese of Massachusetts and a college chaplain at Framingham State College.  General Theological Seminary has been one of the sites on the pilgrimage since the beginning of the project.

The Urban Pilgrimage initiative has the following primary goals: to equip young adults to be committed leaders for social justice in the Church, to teach students how to use theological reflection to shape and articulate their faith and philosophy of ministry, and to provide space to learn about and to practice contemplative spirituality.  For undergraduates, Urban Pilgrimage is a chance to learn and for seminarians or post-baccalaureates, this experience is an opportunity to reflect one’s vocation in church or social justice ministries.

The New York Pilgrimage is one of many being planned for undergraduates for the spring and summer of 2015. Pilgrimages are being planned for Austin and Miami and possibly other locations. Each Pilgrimage is designed to accommodate up to 12 young adults. Undergraduates are being asked to fill out and submit a brief application at least eight weeks prior to their chosen Pilgrimage start date. Cost is $175 per undergraduate participant, plus travel to and from the Pilgrimage site.  The site director works with a team of two or three people to plan the pilgrimage, set up the sites by partnering with religious communities and social service agencies. The training program teaches site directors and their team how to set up and run a pilgrimage, under the mentorship of the Urban Pilgrimage Initiative director and steering committee.

If you are interested in this program, contact Mother Bailey at 617-308-3189 or at valerie_bailey@brontes.org.

More information is available on the Urban Pilgrimage website.