What is a pilgrimage? “A pilgrimage is a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.” 


St. Oswald’s Way, England, July 2019

Beginning June 13, the first group of pilgrims from Epiphany will gather in Wall, England, to begin a 120-mile journey along St. Oswald’s Way. A second group will make the same journey beginning on June 27. This long-distance trail is in the north of England, ending on Holy Island, the site where the Lindisfarne Gospels were produced and illuminated. Read more in a beautiful and powerful blog about this pilgrimage here.

Youth Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, July 2019

This summer, we had two youth chaperones, Youth Director Naomi Woodrum and parishioner Charissa Bradstreet lead six youth on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. You can read more about their journey by visiting the pilgrimage blog site at http://epiphanyyouthpilgrimage.wordpress.com.


The organizing principle of pilgrimage at Epiphany is “first the Holy Land.” If you take no other pilgrimage in your life, this is the one to take. And if you plan to take other pilgrimages, take this one first. The Holy Land pilgrimage should be thought of as Pilgrimage 101.

The Holy Land pilgrimage finds its place of primacy because it takes us into the context of the life of Christ. To walk where Jesus walked puts an entirely different perspective on all scripture. It gives one the eyes to see what Jesus saw, to feel the earth that Jesus walked on, to watch the sunset as he saw it set and rise as he saw it rise. The sounds of Jerusalem are different today than they were 2,000 years ago, but they are also the same. The smells are different, but they are also the same. A pilgrimage is a gift to the sojourner, but also a prayer to God. It is a living, breathing, moving prayer that I hope all parishioners at Epiphany will one day have the opportunity to render to God.

The 2016 Holy Land Pilgrims kept a blog! Read all about their experiences here: http://epiphany2016pilgrimage.wordpress.com/.


We have also done “pilgrimages-in-place,” or local walks and visits in our own community. During the summer of 2015, Epiphany Parish walked from the church to different locations within Seattle to witness the holy in places otherwise marked as profane. We did this in conjunction with our rector Doyt Conn’s sabbatical, during which he walked 116 km of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela trail in Spain. While he was on this pilgrimage, parishioners traveled 982 kilometers (or eight Caminos) into the heart of Seattle. These pilgrimages-in-place have added to our collective perspective on our city, and given us more insight into how to better serve our neighbors.

Read more about the 2015 Pilgrimage-in-Place.


For many, pilgrimage today means a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Jerusalem, Mecca, or the Ganges River. But for modern Americans who have the blessing of being able to travel and live in places that to some would constitute life in the Kingdom of God, pilgrimage stands as a symbol, or a symbolic action, of one’s deepest desire to live a life in faithful pursuit of God. Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “You cannot fully understand the deeper meaning of language and concepts of a particular religion unless you have the shared the context of experience of its disciplines, practices.”

At Epiphany you will be invited to live as a pilgrim and encouraged to travel to holy places to strengthen your faith.

If you are interested in hearing more about pilgrimages for adults at Epiphany, please contact Diane Carlisle at verger@epiphanyseattle.org.  

If you are interested in hearing more about our pilgrimage for youth, please contact Naomi Woodrum at nwoodrum@epiphanyseattle.org.