From May 31 until June 14 I intend to be walking. It will be the first of my archdeaconry walks and I will be travelling through the Archdeaconry of St. Andrews.
It is my plan to walk through all our archdeaconries during the next few summers. This year I will being with a Confirmation service at the Church of the Resurrection in Grand Bay and two weeks later arrive in McAdam.
I will be delighted if people are able to join me for all or part of the journey or if they meet me at the churches along the route to pray.
Why am I doing this?
There are several reasons, all of them equally important.
The first is that I have been called to be Bishop of the Diocese of Fredericton, which is the province of New Brunswick. Throughout our history the Anglican Church has seen itself as responsible for the geographical area in which it is set and the people who live there. Walking will give me the chance to see the land and meet people whom I would not usually come across.
As well, there will be time for reflection. Walking will mean I have to slow down and it will give me time to ponder.
In addition, there will be set prayer times along the route. A rhythm of saying the Offices morning and evening will be established and anyone with us at those times can join in.
Walking with people means that we come to know each other, the good and the bad. For those of us walking there will be plenty of time for fellowship.
There will also be opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with those we meet. This is not solely intended to be a walk, but also to be a mission. In essence we will be heading out on a journey, uncertain as to how God might use us, but knowing that he will.
There is also a major faith component. Apart from the question about whether or not I will be able to complete the journey, there is also the question of what God will allow to happen along the way. We see from scripture that when Jesus and/or his disciples set out on journeys, there were always unexpected encounters – Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the wealthy young man and many more. Jesus was not ready for these meetings and he responded very differently in each situation, but he treated each as a God-given opportunity to share the good news of the Kingdom.
Things will also be learned. New parts of the province will be discovered by the team. Not rushing by in a vehicle will mean we can see what we might usually miss. We will discover greater depth in each other and great depths in God.
It is my hope that you will give prayerful consideration to joining me in June for all or part of this adventure in the south-west corner of our diocese.