Pilgrimage & Urban Adventure
The Urban Adventure is a trip to an unfamiliar city that takes place during the summer after the first year of J2A. There are two parts to the trip:
The first part is spent exploring urban ministry. This is done by volunteering with an already established non-profit or church whose mission is to help heal the city. Along with volunteering, youth spend time learning the stories of the individuals who receive help, the workers, as well as the story of the city itself. This important trip offers youth a chance to explore and test their gifts and to see the variety of ways that God brings healing to people, communities, and places.
The second part is a fun, day-long, city-wide scavenger hunt! Using a good ole fashion map, public transportation, and cryptic clues, youth have to work together to discover different sites around the city. An adult is present with them but CANNOT help them find their way.
The trip concludes with a church service in a different tradition (non-Episcopal) and a Sabbath day of rest of play.
The pilgrimage takes place after the second year of J2A. Making a pilgrimage is an old practice in the Christian tradition—it is often described as a way to pray with your eyes open. It is an opportunity for youth to gain clarity about God’s place in their lives and to experience what God is doing in another corner of the church. The purpose of the pilgrimage is to offer youth “a time apart” for reflection on where they are now in their journeys, and to help prepare them for life in the world and in the church after they leave home.
The pilgrimage can be to almost anywhere, but there are some basic guidelines that groups follow. They travel simply, often staying in guesthouses, churches, pilgrims’ hostels, or camping. They may go to traditional Christian holy sites (like Jerusalem or the monasteries of Ireland). They may choose a place where God is doing a new work now (like the Taize community in France or Bankola Parish—our sister church in Tanzania). They may stay in the US (perhaps tracing the events of the Civil Rights Movement by visiting the churches that were involved or spending a week in the desert exploring Creation spirituality). Wherever the group goes, they should have in mind the questions: How can I see the face of Christ in the people and places we visit? What is God’s story in this place?
Planning for the pilgrimage begins 1 ½ to 2 years in advance. Youth are expected to participate fully in all fundraising and preparation activities.