The practice of pilgrimage is both ancient and modern; Chaucer's 14th century pilgrims immortalized in Canterbury Tales have much in common with the hundreds of thousands of walkers who travel the El Camino de Santiago in Spain each year. Every walker brings with them different hopes, prayers, and intentions to their journey.
But pilgrimages don't have to take place in faraway lands. Thoughtfully walking through one's home community, or visiting a neighbouring one, can also bring rewards when undertaken with a pilgrim's heart. On September 10, the Anglican churches of North Vancouver are hosting a pilgrimage that will connect all their houses of worship and offer hospitality along the way.
After the isolation necessitated by the COVID-19 restrictions, the pilgrimage is one way to reintroduce ourselves to each other and to our neighbourhoods. Prayers and refreshments will be available at each of the five Anglican churches, and people are invited to walk, ride or roll from one to the other, taking in all of them or just a portion of the route.
We will meet at St Catherine's, Capilano at 9:15 am and then proceed to St. Martin's, St. Clement's, St. Agnes' and St. John's , the latter of which was first established in 1899 and is the "mother church" of the other Anglican churches in North Vancouver. We will make 'pilgrim stops' at each parish for refreshments and to give thanks for the ministry of each place. We plan to arrive at St. John's by 1 pm, where lunch will be served.
The route is expected to take approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes (walking). Participants may travel as much of the route as they choose, at their own pace. The distance is approximately 10.5 km, with elevation gains on either side of St. Martin's. We will be using trails and side streets where possible; please bring a water bottle, hat, and sunscreen.
Whether you are a longtime Anglican, have visited one of our churches occasionally, have never stepped foot through our door, or are simply looking for a chance to take a contemplative walk through your community, you are warmly invited to join us. Please register if possible so we can ensure sufficient quantities of food for lunch!
Should you wish more information regarding the regional pilgrimage, please contact The Rev. Elizabeth Mathers.
This pilgrimage is one of a number being offered locally and internationally by the Anglican Church in British Columbia. Please click here to read more about the art and act of pilgrimage.