Thursday, March 6, 2014

Walking the Way

My March article for the Clergy of the Diocese of Los Angeles.

This year The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) is once again offering stewardship resources -- everything a congregation could need -- with the theme Walking the Way.

When I first learned of this theme I was excited by the possibilities it held not only for a focus for stewardship for this fall, but for year-round educational, liturgical and fellowship opportunities. The Diocese of Los Angeles has an annual membership with TENS which enables congregations within the Diocese to have access to these materials without charge. Anyone can join TENS -- While the TENS materials will be available near the end of this Spring and will be free to you all because of our membership in TENS (and they are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean), the theme offers us the opportunity to jump on the Camino and begin Walking the Way before this fall.

I couldn't help but think of my own, short (only 3 mile) walk on the Camino de Compestela (otherwise known as the Camino) last fall - the beauty of those last three miles along the route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela in Spain. The traditional pilgrimage routes leading to this final walk have drawn hundreds of thousands of pilgrims for centuries. (There are five main Camino pilgrimage routes in Spain: the Camino Frances, the Via de la Plata, the Northern Routes, the English Road, and the Portuguese Road. There are many more than this in Spain, but these are currently the most traveled.) This year our own Kelli Grace Kurtz, Joanna Satorius and Mary Trainor are Walking the Way. Are any of you also planning on walking this year or in the future? Have you walked the route in the past? Let me know if you have or are planning to Walk the Way.

The way is marked by shells along the path - either piled in areas or, in the case when you're close, embedded in the ground you are walking on, as in the picture here. Throughout the Camino shells guide the peregrino (pilgrim).

I love the image of the shell as a landmark, a signpost along the journey. More often than not a vessel either in the form of a shell or a shell itself is used to wash the waters of baptism over us as we are brought into the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior and raised to the new life of grace. Walking the Way offers us an opportunity to preach and teach again about what baptism is and what following Christ means.

I pray you avail yourselves of this free stewardship offering from TENS. When these resources are ready for you to use, we will alert you via the Angelus and weekly Episcopal News Update. More, I pray that you will call upon our sisters and brothers who have Walked the Way as potential speakers for your adult education forums. Why not host a movie night and screen the movie The Way with a discussion afterwards? Why not design a prayer walk for your congregation -- possibly between you and a neighboring congregation that could include a joint liturgy together at the end? Why not invite peregrinos/pilgrims to journey with you and your congregation this year.

There are lots of ways to Walk the Way this year! I invite you to join me on this journey!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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