At First Pres, a pilgrimage is an intentional spiritual journey. To travel to a place with sacred meaning is more than a vacation, but it is an act of devotion with the goal of deepening one's faith and creating relationships with other pilgrims. A pilgrimage is both a physical and a holy journey as we take time to look to God for nurture. Over time, Christian pilgrims have historically journeyed to key sacred sites in Israel, Rome, Spain, Scotland (Iona), and France (Taize), among others.
West Highland Way Pilgrims Prayer Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage on the West Highland Way to Scotland took place, October 12 - 24, 2019. The theme was Whit’s fur ye’ll no go past ye which is a Scottish phrase that means, "What’s meant to happen will happen!" The pilgrims read many books and held monthly meetings and discussions in preparation for this journey.
A future pilgrimage on the Northumberland Way, Scotland, is being planned for 2022, and will be led by Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers.
Spiritual Pilgrimages to Iona, Scotland
At First Pres, a pilgrimage is an intentional spiritual journey. To travel to a place with sacred meaning is more than a vacation, but is an act of devotion with the goal of deepening one’s faith and creating relationships with other pilgrims. A pilgrimage is both a physical and holy journey as we take time to look to God for nurture. Over time, Christian pilgrims have historically journeyed to key sacred sites in Israel, Rome, Scotland (Iona), and France (Taize), among others.
Iona, an island off the coast of Scotland, is an enduring symbol of Christianity. St. Columba, an Irish priest, landed on Iona with his followers from Ireland in A.D. 563 and established a monastery. Today, Iona is a revitalized place of Christian communion, centered on a religious community established by George MacLeod in 1938. On Iona there is a restored Abbey that welcomes up to 50 guests each week, as well as thousands of pilgrims every day during the summer months. The Abbey provides a unique opportunity to live with people from all over the world and all walks of life. Guests and staff of the community share all aspects of life - meals, daily worship, programmed activities, chores and social events in a place that allows them to feel safe in exploring issues that challenge or concern them and to have space to reflect on their lives.
Since 2010, many groups of First Pres members and friends have journeyed to Iona, Scotland on this pilgrimage. People have spent a week at the Iona Community and returned with a deeper faith and commitment.
Iona Pilgrimage in 2012
In 2012, the Iona Pilgrimage was led by the Resident Ministers Revs. Matthew Nickel, Jenny McDevitt and Sarah Wiles.
Iona Pilgrimage in 2013
Iona Pilgrimage in 2014
Iona Pilgrimage in 2017
Santiago, Spain is another place of pilgrimage. This pilgrimage is a 500+ kilometer walk to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. This is called "The Way of St. James." The 2010 movie, "The Way", starring Martin Sheen, is an excellent portrayal of pilgrims on this journey. Since medieval times, it has been one of the most important Christian pilgrimages, particularly to Catholics. This is a walking pilgrimage, although many people go by bike. Today, tens of thousands of pilgrims and many others set out each year for the Cathedral in Santiago.
2014 Camino Pilgrimage
In 2014, fourteen women from First Pres walked 100-kilometers of the Camino, sharing the journey with people from all over the world who are also "on the Way." As a spiritual pilgrimage, the group prepared by reading several books, and sharing how God has come to us along our own journeys of life. The trip was led by the Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers.
2016 Camino Pilgrimages
In 2016 this pilgrimage was led by Elder Tom Brandt.
In 2016, a second pilgrimage was made via Portugal and led by Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers and Rev. Angela Ryo.
2018 Camino Pilgrimage
In 2018, this pilgrimage was led by the Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers and Rev. Dorothy Piatt. Says Jan Fisher about this pilgrimage: " The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Composta was a beautiful and spiritual journey led by Rev. Rogers. We became Pilgram Sisters, sharing our faith and our struggles. Truly a life changing journey!"
Pilgrimage to Italy
In 2018 a pilgrimage was made on the Via Francigena in Italy, and was led by Rev. Melissa Anne Rogers and Rev. Blair Buckley. Says Jan Fisher, one of the participants: "The Pilgrimage on the Via Francigena was a challenging walk through the gentle hills of the Italian countryside. We shared many memories of meaningful devotions, delicious food and gorgeous scenery".
2015 and 2017 Europian Heritage Tours
These tours were led by the Rev. Dr. Fairfax Fair