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Pilgrimage: United Kingdom

Mon., May 11-Wed., May 20, 2020

This pilgrimage program involves a half-unit course that introduces students to the historical and theological framework of pilgrimage, the spiritual disciplines involved in the pilgrimage experience, and the significance of pilgrimage to the Christian tradition. Participants will also examine their own beliefs and practices alongside other team members, as they explore the rich heritage of the ecumenical Christian faith. The course culminates in a May travel intensive in which participants engage in a walking pilgrimage along St. Cuthbert's Way. This 100 km (62.5 miles) self-guided walking tour leads from Melrose in the Scottish Borders to the Holy Island off the Northumberland coast, following in the footsteps of the region's most influential Christian figure.

Program Requirements
The program is open to full-time undergraduate students. Graduating seniors are not eligible to apply. Each student will be expected to offer an open and generous heart to the experience and to their teammates. The pilgrimage will be physically and spiritually challenging, and students who participate will commit to cultivating their physical and spiritual health in preparation for the 65-mile hike. 

Applicants selected for the pilgrimage team will be required to enroll and participate in a half-unit course that meets weekly throughout the spring semester. The course includes weekly readings, writing assignments, and a final reflection paper, and participants are also expected to study and engage in the spiritual disciplines that are a part of the pilgrimage experience. All participants must be prepared to discuss their faith journey, showing respect for differences within the ecumenical Christian faith. Participants are also responsible to prepare physically for the walking pilgrimage through regular exercise and completion of a fitness journal. Applicants are encouraged to reserve Fridays from 9-10:15 a.m. in their spring semester class schedules. 

The Chaplaincy will cover all costs except passport and visa application fees, gear and supplies for the walking pilgrimage, meals in the airport, and spending money.

The pilgrimage will be co-led by Craig Kocher, university chaplain, and Bryn Bagby Taylor, associate university chaplain. 

St. Cuthbert's Way
The walking pilgrimage leads from Melrose, where St. Cuthbert started his religious life, to the Holy Island, which was St. Cuthbert's eventual resting place. The trail is way-marked and features a variety of landscapes as well as sites of cultural, historical, and religious significance. The final destination is Holy Island and Lindisfarne, where St. Cuthbert served as bishop. Holy Island is cut off from the mainland twice daily at high tide, so the final section of the walk includes the unique attraction of crossing the sands at low tide.

Students interested in applying for the pilgrimage should consult the tentative itinerary and review the mileage that will be covered each day. For a detailed description of the daily sites and terrain, please visit the official St. Cuthbert's Way website and review the long distance route. Please note that while St. Cuthbert's way is suitable for all ages and abilities, some training and a degree of fitness are required.



Important Dates

Applications available
Tues., Oct. 1

Application deadline
Fri., Nov. 1 by midnight

Applicant interviews
Mon., Nov. 4 - Thurs., Nov. 14

Applicant notification
Fri., Nov. 15

First team meeting
Mon., Dec. 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Questions? Contact:

Bryn Bagby Taylor
Associate Chaplain
Office of the Chaplaincy