Day 7

A foggy start
Swallow Tail Lighthouse from the water (really!)

Today I had an experience I have never had before. The day dawned foggy and misty on Grand Manan. After a lovely breakfast and Morning Prayer we said goodbye to the folks on the island and made our way to the wharf at North Head. There was little wind so we motored across the bay rather than sailed. The ocean was virtually flat calm, with a little swell at the middle of the journey. Suddenly I knew that my oatmeal and toast was not going to stay in my stomach. I guess there is a first time for everything. The good news is there are no photographs.

Head Harbour, Campobello
Head Harbour, Campobello

When we arrived in Campobello, as predicted the fog lifted and the sun broke through. As I write this evening it is a glorious time of the day, with the sun glinting off the water across the street from the Rectory. One interesting thing about this island is that there is no Rogers cell phone service, hence no Internet or wifi for me. If you are reading this on Saturday evening, it is because I have followed local advice and sat outside the library to hook into the free wireless there or failing that one of the motels to do the same.
Roosevelt Park

100 km mark
David and Trevor at 100 kms to date

Roosevelt's Cottage

This afternoon it was a great privilege for me to celebrate my first Home Communion for over three years. Bob Smith, the Interim Minister here, asked if I would visit Alice with him to give her the sacrament. She is the oldest parishioner in the congregation, though at 97 she does not get to church anymore. What a great lady, her mind is as sharp as a tack. It was marvellous to be able to minister to such a faithful follower of Jesus.

Evening PrayerEvening Prayer
Alice reminded me that in this Christian life we are to take the long view. God calls us to faithfulness and to use the opportunities he gives us in the different seasons of our lives. It is very easy to be downhearted about the things we can no longer do or the actions we wish we had taken. There is nothing we can do about that now. We need to realize that today is the day for action. What is God asking of us now and how has he equipped us for the task? I have to stop regretting what might have been and wishing for what might be. Rather I have to discover what is and how I can be faithful in it.

I trust you will have a blessed Resurrection Day tomorrow.

+David

(For route and schedule details, click here)

Day 6

Company along the way
A whole day on Grand Manan. It began with glorious sunshine, ended with drizzle and has turned somewhat cold. We walked nearly 20 kms today even though we were scheduled only to walk between 10 and 12. First of all we walked between the Anglican churches of Ascension and St. Paul’s, en route we called in at a dulse store to buy some of this island’s famous product for Gisele. It will be making its way back to the mainland with Cheryl on Sunday. Then nearly another 10 kms were added as we chose to walk to a parishioner’s house for a shower.

+David considering other means of travel
+David considering other means of travel

Another piece of good news is that our transport to Campobello has arrived and is safely tied up at the wharf in North Head. In fact Mike and his crew arrived at about 9.00 am this morning, but as we were out of cell phone range for part of the day we did not know they were there until about 4.30pm. The good folks here delivered them to our pot luck supper.
Supper at St. Paul's, Grand Harbour
We had other visitors today. Fr. Ranall Ingalls and his mother, Audrey, were here for a family funeral and dropped in for a while.

We have received great hospitality here and have laughed a good deal with the folks, but it is clear that the Anglican family and people more broadly have been greatly affected by the series of tragic events which happened on the island last year. As Bishop I am aware of how difficult it is for people to come to terms with their loss. There have been times today when I have not known how best to respond to the heartache I have seen. We live in a world which is broken and where God is working out his purpose, but it is so hard to see the way ahead when we are in the midst of it.

I was reminded of an event early in my ministry where I felt helpless and hopeless in the face of an unexpected death. As the newly minted minister I wanted to resolve the issues for the family. I shared with a more experienced friend my frustration with my lack of ability to do anything useful. He looked at me, smiled and said “Sometimes all that God requires is that we stand with people in the darkness”.

I really sense that we need the ministry of presence in this place at this time.

Good night and God bless.

+David

(For route and schedule details, click here)

Day 5

Leaving PennfieldAbbey Road in Pennfield?
Today we saw an unidentified flying object; it was bright yellow, blinding and in the sky, I believe it is called the sun. This morning we walked from Pennfield to Black’s Harbour to catch the ferry to Grand Manan. Thirteen people joined us along the route and we were invited to stop for refreshments at the home of some parishioners about a mile from the terminal. It was a flat calm day for sailing and as we were about to leave port a member of the crew arrived with a bag of chocolate frogs, which he said a “woman” had given him to pass on to us.

Taking care of business
Taking care of business
Break from walking - ferry
Enjoying the break from walking!

At our arrival on the island we were greeted by a small welcoming group and our luggage was transported to the church hall. We on the other hand were taken for a walk to the Swallow Tail Lighthouse, where the views are glorious.Swallow Tail Lighthouse In addition earlier this evening I received an email from Eric Phinney to tell me that Mike Caines has left Renforth Wharf in his sail boat. this is very good news as he is providing the transport from here to Campobello on Saturday and back to Back Bay on Sunday.

The day ended on something of a sad note. I received a call telling me that a friend in Saint John has been diagnosed with a serious illness. The prospects do not look promising and such events always give me pause. As I sit here amidst God’s beautiful creation, looking at the sun glinting off the ocean, I am reminded that what God made is good. God’s intention was never that death and decay should enter into his perfect cosmos, but as the Bible teaches human rejection of His ways led to this dreadful reality for us.

Knowing that God is good and that he seeks our good is always necessary when this type of news comes to us. God’s good action is to provide Jesus as the true and living way from the horror and insult of death into the glory of life. Church of the Ascension As we celebrated Evening Prayer tonight and I lit the Paschal Candle, I was reminded that the light of God shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

“Death and decay in all around I see
O Thou who changest not, abide with me”.

“I am the resurrection and the life says the Lord”.

Good night and God Bless you.

+David

(For route and schedule details, click here)

Day 4

McKay's Blueberry Stand
Today was a day when it hardly rained at all, which was a blessing as we covered 20 kms, from Lepreau to McKay’s Blueberry Farm Stand in Pennfield. There were also gastronomic delights along the way.  First we stopped in Pocologan at the Bay Breeze for a beautifully stacked lobster roll. Then on arrival in Pennfield we had a sundae at McKay’s. Given what was written last night you can tell that we achieved all our objectives.
Lobster Roll!

Today has been one where I have been made aware of the ecumenical aspect of this walk. When we stopped for our lobster rolls we discovered that the owners of the restaurant are Greek. They attend St. Nicholas’ Church in Saint John, less than half a block away from Stone Church. The lady was quite intrigued that a Bishop was out walking from place to place. Then this evening when we gathered for worship in Pennfield there were representatives from several denominations who joined us. We are the body of Christ and we need to remember this truth. In a very real sense it does not matter which part of the Christian family we represent as long as we have Christ at the centre and our intention is to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.

Visiting in Pennfield
Once again we have received fine hospitality here in Pennfield. It was great to gather with more than 30 people to worship together this evening. We also had a good time of fellowship afterwards. I was reminded about the unity which binds we Anglicans together. Several years ago when I was at Stone Church people from here began to periodically come to our drop ins to provide a meal for the folks we served in the Uptown community. It was great to hear that they continue to do so. In fact on Friday of this week they are taking a ham dinner into the city.

It is getting late and I need to post this. Tomorrow we head for Grand Manan.

May God bless you and keep you this night.

+David

(For route and schedule details, click here)

Day 3

Trinity, Maces Bay
Trinity, Maces Bay

As predicted it was a very wet day today. We are hoping for better tomorrow as we leave Lepreau and begin a walk to Pennfield. It is our hope to at least get to McKay’s Blueberries in order to have an ice cream sundae. As I write it is still misty and wet, so who knows what it will be like in the morning. The good news is we are now confident our wet weather gear is waterproof.

We were just able to Skype Trevor’s Bible Study group in the Parish of Lakewood. Tonight is their usual meeting time, so it was good to see some familiar faces. We also had our evening service in Maces Bay. There were some folks from Saint John as well as the locals here. We have been treated extremely well in the Parish of Musquash and despite the bad weather it has been good to be here.

Lepreau Falls
Lepreau Falls

Today as we walked between Lepreau and Maces Bay, a distance of just over 12 kms I was reminded of Bishop Medley’s intention that no two churches should be more than 10 miles apart. As I understand it the idea was that as both a person and a horse can walk about 5 miles per hour, no one would be more than an hour away from a church building. It worked well for his time and was crucial to the development of Anglican Christianity in our Province.

As we turned into Maces Bay we passed a communications mast for cell phones and all the other electronics of our day. This led me to reflect upon the fact that both we and Bishop Medley had or have the same aim, making the Good News of Jesus accessible to people. The message does not change, but the media today are very different. What is our equivalent of Medley’s: a church every 10 miles?

I trust that God will bless tonight.

+David

(For route and schedule details, click here)

Day 2

Fellow travelers

Today was wet once again, apparently not as wet as tomorrow will be, but wet nonetheless. We walked 17 kms today, which is one of the longer sections of the walk, and means we have covered just over 30 kms in 2 days. Tomorrow we head from Lepreau to Maces Bay, which is a relatively short walk of only 10 kms. We were joined this evening by about 10 parishioners from the Parish of Musquash for Evening Prayer, which was a joy. This morning people from the Parishes of St. James Lakewood and Lancaster, the Good Shepherd, joined us to walk all or part of the route.

It is interesting that as we head into Day 3 I am beginning to slow down. It is my hope that soon I will be able to fully appreciate the sense of God in this adventure. Today as we walked along the old rail bed to Prince of Wales we came across a section of hedgerow which had been deliberately and quite harshly pruned, presumably in order to keep the path clear.

When I was having supper in Lepreau, one of the Wardens reminded me of a talk I gave  some time ago about the vine and the branches. I am always conscious when I think of that passage from John’s Gospel of the important thing being for us to remember that we are to abide in the vine, in other words to live in Christ. It may mean sometimes we face a hard pruning, but ultimately it will be for good.

As I have sat with those images this evening, the pruned pathway and the call for us to abide in Christ, it occurs to me that we as a Diocese are facing a pruning and it is painful. Even if it does not affect us directly, indirectly we are affected, because it is hard for our brothers and sisters. Yet we are to abide. To remain faithful as we seek God together.

I trust that you will have a blessed night. Please remember us tomorrow as we walk.

+David

(For route and schedule details, click here)

Day 1

150531_start_of_pilgrimage_reduced

So day 1 is done. It has been a wet day, but not as bad as it was supposed to be. We were a little damp on the way from Grand Bay to West Saint John, but it was a good walk. In all ten of us walked the whole route and we were joined for part of the way by three others, two of whom were over 90!

The day began with a great celebration at the Church of the Resurrection in Grand Bay-Westfield, it was my privilege to Confirm 10 young people during the service there. It was a very joyous occasion. We also enjoyed congratulating CTV’s Maritimer of the Week, Wes Cosman, a member there and I was able to give thanks for the congregation receiving a national award from the military for their support of Michael Caines in his role as a Chaplain.

I am aching a little now and I do not think I will need much rocking to get me to sleep tonight. We received great hospitality at the Church of the Good Shepherd in West Saint John this evening. It was great to share evening prayer with members of the congregation, led by the Rector.

It is remarkable that when walking one notices things that would otherwise be passed by. I have travelled the old road from Saint John to Grand Bay many times, but had not seen a house with a turret before. It was a reminder to me that to see we have to stop rushing.

What have I learnt today? It was a joy to walk with someone who has recently undergone extensive medical treatment. She has faced a hard road and yet joined us for the whole journey. To walk the walk of Christ is not always easy and at time takes a great degree of determination, yet the Lord is our strength.

We will gather for morning prayer tomorrow at 8.00am at the Church of the Good Shepherd and then be on our way to Lepreau.

I trust that God will give you a good night.

+David

Thoughts before starting

It is the night before the beginning of the Pilgrimage. I am not sure what to expect. I am concerned about my lack of training. My hope is that as the two weeks go by I will ease into the walking and be in better shape by the end than I am at the beginning. I think I have packed everything I need for this adventure. It is clear from the weather forecast that a major need is going to be waterproof clothing. It appears that it is going to rain for at least 5 days out of the first seven. Getting things dry might be a challenge.

Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday and it makes me wonder what God has in store for us as we travel on this road. I am hoping that there will be time to reflect upon the things of God as we take the opportunity to slow down and look at the world around us. The obvious biblical text to be considering for the first day of the walk is the road to Emmaus.  The risen Jesus walking with his disciples and revealing things to them as they travel.

It is my hope that as we walk the roads and trails of South Western New Brunswick we will be very aware of Jesus travelling with us. Please remember to pray for us tomorrow as we begin our journey and also remember the Confirmation candidates I will Confirm in the morning at the Church of the Resurrection.

A Celtic Pilgrim’s Prayer

God, be with us in every valley,
Jesus, be with us on every hill,
Holy Spirit, be with us
on every stream,
every cliff’s edge,
every green pasture;
every moor and meadow,
and in the crest of the waves on the sea.
Every time we rest,
and every time we wake up;
O Father, be with us,
and keep us by your Spirit Holy,
every step we take,
in the good company of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Amen.

(Adapted from the Carmina Gadelica, 1860-1909)

Why I am going walking

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.