Posted: Jul 21

Pilgrimage for Earth

By Angela Emerson

pilgrimageforearth.pngThe last few days of June took me on a Pilgrimage for Earth.

The four day event, built on the themes of the Triduum, the end of Holy Week, focused on lament for the losses God’s Earth has suffered through human hands. We began at Church of the Woods in Canterbury, New Hampshire welcomed by the music of a local a capella group singing in the old Shaker tradition.  We planted trees, cleaned a creek bed, and enjoyed Eucharist under a tent. 

Friday took us to the banks of the Connecticut River, the divide between New Hampshire and Vermont, where we meditated on Earth’s trauma through the lens of the seven last words of Jesus on the cross.  The plaintive sounds of bagpipes led us from site to site.  Later the service of Tennebrae featured a hauntingly beautiful Litany of Extinction, a sung memorial of the names of animals that no longer exist. 

The creation-focused poetry of Wendell Berry underscored the magnitude of the loss.

Saturday featured workshops and meditation at Mission Farm, Killington, Vermont where Church of Our Savior sits on 170 acres of a heavily forested mountain. It was a microcosm of the whole pilgrimage as the day ended with the celebration of God’s redemptive power.  Sunday morning was a glorious celebration of hope in beautiful St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, New Hampshire where the inspired music of Bach, Handel and Haydn filled the air. The same Eucharistic liturgy was used on Thursday under the tent and on Sunday. Yet, the experiences were entirely different!

It was indeed a pilgrimage in the best sense of the word. Sorry you missed it, at least being there in person, but stay tuned… the movie is coming out soon! 

The Rev. E. Angela Emerson, Canon for Stewardship and Development, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont.