Photo by Damien DUFOUR Photographie on Unsplash

With all its sham drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful, Strive to be happy.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

On Gabriola right now, the dogwood trees are exploding with blossoms. The eagles are settling in with their new offspring in meticulously constructed nests. The ocean is opening into the reception of boats, humans swimming, fish spawning, tides falling in and out and Nature is bursting with new life within! We’re preparing our gardens for planting and beginning to anticipate the growth of food for our own sustenance and the sustenance of others. In the next month all of us who want to be vaccinated will have that available to us.

Spring, for many, brings hope. In times such as these, hope is not necessarily easily accessible. We need to seek it out somehow in our own unique ways. Find it in unusual places, perhaps even places in which we would not usually search. The journey necessitates intentional and courageous pursuit.

Ecumenically speaking, then, how do we pursue the journey in a personal, spiritual and meaningful manner while still maintaining our individual thoughts, feelings and physical expressions?

The Ecumenical Society on Gabriola (GES) encourages participation in spiritual experiences. Our programmes invite exploration of traditional and modern ideas, found both in the wisdom of ancient religious traditions and spiritual paths, as well as the Sciences.

A pilgrimage is defined as a “journey of exploration into an unknown place. We invite you to join us on that journey of exploration where you might find new meaning about yourself others, Nature or a higher good.” This practice can lead you to a personal transformation. Karen Hollis, Minister for Christ Church on Gabriola has created and designed such a pilgrimage.

GES will be offering this programme for the next 3 months beginning in May. The Pilgrimage is divided into 3 manageable parts: Beginning, Walking, and Coming Home. With each section there is a booklet that guides our path for a 3 hour(ish) journey. And then, a beautiful opportunity to connect (on Zoom) with Karen and others who have gone through the journey. You can do the process on your own or gather together with others, all the time remembering that ultimately… the journey is yours!

Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant: they too have their story.

Reflections in Times Such as These

What do you expect to discover as you embark on this personal pilgrimage? What works for you? How do you break away from the challenges that are before us and find joy peace and calm even in the midst of absolute chaos? Please tell us your story…

  • My pilgrimage has been confined to the walks that I take on Gabriola Island. As I encounter view and take pictures of the tiniest, beautiful flower that emerges along the pathway I am in awe of the beauty and abundance in our natural world. I am also aware that I have a responsibility to protect our natural world as much as possible so that it can continue to flourish, nurture and beautify our environment.
  • I am grateful for this opportunity to embark on a personal pilgrimage right here on our beautiful Island of Gabriola. For me, this will provide the impetus to step out of the ordinary routine of my life and while wrapped in the beauty of nature, continue to seek a deeper, more interconnected meaning. Grounded in Mother Earth, deeply present in body as I walk and reflect, I desire to use the experience as a doorway into a new way of seeing, a new way of being. This is essential, I believe, as we struggle to relate with one another, support one another, love one another and live in peace and harmony as we rise out of the pain and struggle we have all been experiencing during this worldwide pandemic.
  • When I think about ‘pilgrimage’ I consider the long, challenging and adventuresome journey of the people who wandered from Europe to North America in the 15 th century. It was never easy, yet they each embarked on the exploration with curiosity, commitment and determination, seeking the unknown and believing in the help and support of “the Divine”. Embarking on a religious pilgrimage gives us the opportunity to be supported through and guided towards our own  personal reflection where the Divine lies within us all.