In June 2015, Jason Brian Santos, the Presbyterian Mission Agency associate for collegiate ministries, is planning to lead a group of 12 college students and campus ministers on a five-day spiritual pilgrimage through portions of the Mountain to Sea Trail (MST). The journey will begin the morning of June 13 at a location 70 miles northeast of the Montreat Conference Center

During the five-day hike, the participants will explore the historical and present-day significance of six Christian practices—Ignatian Examen, Taizé Chants, Lectio Divina, Silence, Jesus Prayer, and Pilgrimage—through teaching, reading, and active participation.  

The hiking portion of the trip will end on Wednesday, June 17, in Montreat, in the middle of the second week of the Montreat Youth Conference. 

At Montreat, the team will share about the trip and spirituality in the collegiate context, lead workshops about spiritual practices, and participate in a service project for the Montreat Conference Center. Thus, the trip also functions partly as a service-oriented trip, while sharing about UKirk, the growing network of PCUSA-related college ministries. 

The impetus for the trip is drawn from the old Latin phrase, Solvitur Ambulando, “it is solved by walking.” Often attributed to St. Augustine, this saying was popularized throughout history by its association with the spiritual practice of pilgrimage. 

 “College is a time when many young people are asking serious questions about their lives and their future,” says Santos.  “Employing specific spiritual practices on the journey allows many opportunities for spiritual and vocational discernment to surface.” 

“Disconnected from their everyday lives, these pilgrims will be invited to walk in more sacred rhythms. “ 

Sometimes, he adds, one’s deepest questions are answered “by putting one foot in front of the other.” 

This trip is the first in a series of pilgrimages Santos hopes to lead, with possible trips to the Iona Community, the Taizé Community, and Santiago de Compostela under consideration. 

Applications for the pilgrimage are available on the UKirk website  and are due April 22, 2015. The selected participants will be announced on April 31, 2015. All questions and inquiries should be sent to pilgrimage@ukirk.org.