I have recently been inspired through reading a book entitled ‘The Salt Path’, which tells the story of a couple who lost everything and chose to walk the South West Coastal Path through Devon and Cornwall. In the process of their journey they came to fascinating and powerful insights. It is not a Christian book but it resonated with me as so many paradigm shifts and spiritual encounters in the Bible seem to occur whilst travelling. Indeed there is a strong Christian tradition of pilgrimage which acknowledges the potentially transformative effects of going on a journey.
This edition of Search is a collection of musings on this theme. Andrea Campanale describes how her path of faith has led her towards those communities often found well outside the boundaries of the established church. Shannon Parrott describes the inner journey that we all make, accompanied by the Psalmist and Carola von Wrangel speaks of her journey out of one theological paradigm into another more grace-filled one. Harold Miller shares his observations and insights gained from a recent trip to Leipzig, while Paddy McGlinchey outlines a hopeful route towards a rapprochement between Catholics and Evangelicals. With the help of Criostor MacBruithin, we follow the journeys that Abram made, whilst Leonard Madden speaks of the power of journeying together. Finally, Paul Hoey depicts his journey towards Santiago de Compostela. Each contributor has taken the metaphor of Journey and demonstrated its rich potential for contributing to our appreciation and understanding of our shared life of faith.Please see the announcement for our April Colloquium overleaf. I hope you enjoy these articles and are enriched by them.Rev.Dr. Robin Stockitt SEARCH editor Canon Ginnie Kennerley writes:
‘My warmest thanks to Revd Dr Robin Stockitt, who retired from parish ministry in Donagheady (Derry) recently, for taking on the editorship of this spring 2023 issue of SEARCH. After over fifteen years of editing the journal myself, it’s good to have a break! A noted theological writer as well as a pastor and teacher, Robin brings much expertise to the task. Please do it again soon, Robin!
A missional journey to the margins
JOHN V. Taylor, theologian and Bishop of Winchester between 1975 and 1985, describes mission as, ‘an adventure of the imagination.’ Adventure implies risk and daring. An active and intentional quest with the potential for failure, as well as success. We think of Paul’s missionary journeys in Acts. The shipwrecks and the beatings. But, also, the visions, the miracles and the joy of new Christian communities taking shape in threatening and hostile environments. Similarly, imagination requires a willingness to be vulnerable; to observe what is, trust in a hope for what could be and experiment in the discomfort of the unfamiliar in order to discern the new thing God is bringing about by the Spirit.
WHEN we think of ‘journeys’ we think of movement from point A to point B. A destination is in focus. Yet perhaps the most significant journeys are not the ones of physical movement. Perhaps the most significant journeys are the ones where we move within, in our very selves, the inward journey we all must take. It is a journey of discerning the way in which we are to be, by which I mean the way in which we are to live, to see the world, and to see our embodied-selves.
THIS is a story of journey and pilgrimage. Although I’m an educated Episcopal priest and ‘theologian,’ this is not a theological treatise. Rather, this is my reflection on the profound transformation God has wrought in me. As an introduction, I have served for over 20 years as a parish priest in the United States and Germany.
RETIREMENT and Covid came at around the same time for Liz and myself. We had just moved house, settled in the leafy suburbs of Lurgan in our Tigin Beag (wee small house) when the pandemic arrived. In many ways, we surprised ourselves by thoroughly enjoying the time of lockdown, when the house and three quarters an acre of garden could be got in order, and had come to appreciate the quietness.
The Evangelical-Roman Catholic journey towards rapprochement
RESPECTFUL DIALOGUE between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics may sound like an unlikely scenario but lessons drawn from history, as I will seek to demonstrate in what follows, can yield some surprisingly fruitful outcomes, ones which may prove to be highly pertinent to our present-day context. It may be valuable before embarking on an historical review to register the obvious objections which such a project might give rise to.
ACCORDING to the Church of Ireland’s rite, ‘Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives, the first step in response to God’s love.’ Those present are invited to evaluate their own ‘progress made on that journey. . . with the Church throughout the ages, journeying into the fullness of God’s love.’
PILGRIMAGE has traditionally been conceived as a journey to places in which divine-human encounters have taken place.1 These are journeys, accompanied by prayer,2 that traditionally involve a person leaving home, traveling to a specific site that is acknowledged as holy and set apart from the busyness of the quotidian – a ‘thin’ place3 – and then returning home again, changed. The pilgrimage’s destination may be familiar or unfamiliar to the given pilgrim, but, either way, ‘one returns home, but changed, with a new perspective.’4
IT WAS the friendly woman sitting beside me on the airplane who triggered the question. We’d gotten into conversation about our most memorable trips. Mine, I told her, was undoubtedly the Camino walk to Santiago de Compostela. ‘Oh,’ she retorted; ‘I’ve done that.’
Liturgica: Synodality as revealed in the celebration of liturgy
Readers may know that the Roman Catholic Church is currently in synod throughout the world. Pope Francis has invited members of the Church to rediscover and embed the characteristics of synodality into the very way of being Church together. Indeed, the ‘Synod on Synodality’ can be justifiably seen as a rehearsal in being a synodal Church, as it seeks to cultivate a habit of synodality.