The final total is in, after various adjustments I can confirm that during Pilgrimage 2017 I walked 232 km and Trevor walked 244, for reasons that will remain unclear. Today was a 20 km walk around Moncton, beginning at St. George’s, lunching at St James’ and finally arriving at St. Philip’s. As we travelled we saw some of the damage caused by the storm last night, there were several fallen trees.
The walk was rewarding in that people shared some important personal things with me. In addition, at lunch-time, I heard from a couple about their concerns for the future of our faith in the area and beyond. I am always challenged by these conversations because I feel (probably wrongly) that the hope is for me to provide some type of solution. I really wish I could, but all I can do is to say that we live in different times. It has almost become a mantra.
In many of the congregations, I have visited during the last two weeks I have seen a great deal of love and care by the members for each other. We also have many people deeply involved in the various communities I have passed along the way. Involvement in breakfast programs, community gardens, after-school events, the list is long. I want to thank all those who do such things as part of their Christian witness.
Today all of us who visited were greatly impressed by the food bank here in Moncton. It is a tremendous operation and aims to do so much more than solely providing food for people in need. There is a strong sense of treating the folks with dignity and trying to point to hope in difficult situations. It is a non-denominational venture, though people from many churches are involved. I saw something which is clearly a blessing to Moncton.
It is this which points us towards what we should be. We are communities of blessing, who do these things to show the love of Christ. If we can continue to understand this then we will see God glorified and people coming to worship him. It cannot be about seeing people come to church, it has to be about people joining Jesus on the way.