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One of the items on Kurt Schmidt’s to-do list for 2024 is a youth pilgrimage to Grand Manan Island.

Tentatively set for the Victoria Day weekend, the diocese’s half-time director of young adult formation hopes to lead 6-12 young people and chaperones in hikes, Eucharist, prayer and worship.

It was at the September new clergy orientation, when Kurt, a new employee, met the Rev. David Smith, new priest-in-charge in the Parish of Grand Manan. The two got to talking, which led to Kurt leading an Advent retreat there that went well.

“David’s idea is folks can connect with both congregations [in the parish] and they can act as hosts,” said Kurt. “We’re going to connect with the long tradition of pilgrimage. It’s brand new to young people here.”

But Kurt cautioned that it’s not for those looking solely for recreation.

“It’s not a vacation, it’s an experience of transformation,” he said.

Very soon he, with those interested, will begin the preparation period for the pilgrimage — 40 days of prayer and planning. He’s especially looking forward to the experience of Grand Manan Island.

“Aside from people discovering Grand Manan, it’s a thin place, thin meaning a place where you can experience spirituality more easily. The veil separating us is thinner there, I think.”

Apart from preparing for the pilgrimage, Kurt’s role has a focus on youths aged 19-30, capturing those university-aged and a bit older.

His prime aim is to be a resource for anyone of that age wanting to develop a life of discipleship.

“I want to help young adults find their way,” he said. 

One of his primary roles will be to connect with camp staff at both Camp Brookwood and Camp Medley, so that when the camping season is over, the relationships remain intact with support and encouragement. 

This past fall, one of his first initiatives was to form a group called Friday Night Lights, which meets at Christ Church Cathedral. Here his other half-time job, that of director of Christian formation at the Cathedral, overlaps.

Some members of FNL are from the Cathedral and other area churches, while others “have no baggage because they haven’t had much history with the Church,” he said. 

He’s also in close contact with the campus chaplains at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University.

“I’ve been able to participate in some of their programs and meet students,” he said.

But you don’t need to live in Fredericton to benefit from Kurt’s role. You can contact Kurt to find out how he can support you:

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