PedalPilgrimage is the next adventure on an unfolding journey of faith for Eastminster Church (www.EastminsterPDX.ORG) and her pastor, Rev. Brian Heron. Eastminster Church has been on an intentional journey to understand our culture’s changing religious environment. Eastminster is dedicated to what might emerge when we foster a dialogue between our rich religious tradition and emerging spiritualities.
PedalPilgrimage is a 4,000 mile, 10-week spiritual journey by bicycle through the Western United States beginning July 10 and ending (hopefully!) September 18. Pilgrimages are, by nature, a time of “intentional homelessness” and this pilgrimage is intended to let go of the safety of life as Brian knows it now in order to be open to the inviting door to a new life, new identity and new future as he reflects on what it means to be a minister in this vibrant and uncertain time.
Rev. Brian Heron grew up in the Presbyterian Church and has a deep love for the community, the rhythm of its rituals, and its commitment to serve. At the same time he has watched as his denomination has declined by half, lost touch with the surrounding culture, and become increasingly irrevelant to his friends and contemporaries.
This pilgrimage is a “letting go.” It is an acknowledgment that the Church of Brian’s childhood no longer exists nor will it ever exist again. It is a recognition that the Church as it is now is only a shell of the Church that he became ordained in and expected to serve. It is a letting go of past expectations and dreams.
This pilgrimage is a “bridge.” Brian lives in two cultures which very rarely meet or talk. He serves the traditional Presbyterian Church as a minister and his friends are largely the “spiritual but not religious.” During the tour Brian will be having conversations with people–religious, spiritual, secular, humanist–about where they most experience God or the sacred in their lives. He hopes that he discovers that there is a common thread that ties all of us together, a bridge where we recognize that God is just as active in the world as She is in the Church.
This pilgrimage is a “mirror.” The larger Presbyterian Church recently acknowledged that the Church is currently living in a wilderness time. We aren’t sure where we are going, who we are and what we are about. This is a cultural and religious journey into an unknown future. This cycling pilgrimage is intended to propel Brian into a wilderness experience that mirrors the uncertainty, the trust, the anxiety, the successes, and the dangers of venturing out into the wilderness. The gifts that he discovers will hopefully be the gifts the Church needs to negotiate this awkward and exciting time we live in.
Looking for God. Seeking the Sacred. Leaving home. Coming home.