Monday, June 29 is the first day of a 40 day pilgrimage to Corner Brook, Newfoundland and the meeting of the 42nd General Council. To prepare for this important gathering, Moderator Gary Paterson is inviting the entire church to join in this pilgrimage.
“Let’s take the next forty days as an opportunity to get ready for General Council by having conversations and prayer about our dreams and visions for the United Church,” writes the Moderator in his latest blog post.
There are a number of ways that people can participate in this pilgrimage.
First, because pilgrimage is rooted in prayer, the Moderator invites you to join him daily in the spiritual practice of praying that day’s Pilgrim Prayer. You will find these “pilgrim prayers” posted daily on the United Church Facebook page and also as a complete set in a prayer booklet available on the GC42 website.
Secondly, the Moderator invites you to join in what he’s calling “conversations that matter.”
“I am hungry for ‘conversations that matter’ among all of us pilgrims, an opportunity for us to talk, not about structure and the Comprehensive Review proposals, essential as those are, but about vision and mission – what’s really important in all that we do as a community of faith, what’s the essential stuff? It’s a conversation about the ‘why’ of church as distinct from the ‘how.’ The new wine, rather than the wineskin,” writes the Moderator.
To participate in these conversations, you are invited to read, reflect on, and respond to the Moderator’s weekly question or comment on his blog over the next 40 days.
“We can talk about our hopes for the church, our own sense of why we are involved, what we give and receive, how our lives have been changed. We’ll live into words like mission, evangelism, justice, prayer, testimony, transformation, mending the world, right relations, all my relations, God, post-theism, Jesus Christ, Spirit… and the theme of General Council 42, Behold! I make all things new,” writes the Moderator.
And finally, a third way you can participate in this 40 day pilgrimage is to follow the General Council 42nd Youth Forum Pilgrims on their journey across Canada! Thirteen youth commissioners plus two young adult leaders are travelling across the country on a pilgrimage. As they journey they are listening to the dreams and needs of young people, and visiting sites and people that will help to inform them of issues coming before the General Council. They are listening deeply and considering wisely as they engage with Spirit and the church.