Episcopal Peace Fellowship Offers Spring Break Alternatives
EPF Urban Pilgrimages Combine Social Justice and Faith Formation
Quick. Close your eyes (figuratively, of course) – and imagine you’re on spring break.
You are in Austin, Texas, home of cowboys, live music, and the frontline of our nation’s conversation on immigration. The sun is warm on your face, but the drum beats from a parade of immigrants fighting for their rights lifts your spirits. You walk with them as witnesses, as supporters, and as new friends.
Now imagine yourself in New York City. You’ve just walked past Trinity Wall Street and are on your way to Zuccotti Park, home of the Occupy movement. History – old and new—surrounds you.
Finally, now you are in sunny California. A day of learning about self-sustaining farming has transitioned to an incredible evening feast, prepared with potatoes, carrots, kale and tomatoes – the very foods you picked from the ground that morning.
Ok, our journey is over. You can open your eyes, and there is some good news. These spring break experiences aren’t just imaginary – they happen every year.
This spring, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, now in its 75th year, will offer it’s 8th year of Urban Pilgrimages for college-aged young adults. Each year, we provide an alternative spring break mission trip for students and their campus ministers looking to spend their break helping others.
In cities like New York, Austin, Boston and Los Angeles, we introduce our participants to the complex and often hidden social problems that impact many urban communities, all through a spiritual framework. Pilgrims are brought face-to-face with issues such as homelessness and immigration and engage with these issues through building relationships. We see and meet Christ every day – in the individuals who are oppressed, and in the professionals who serve them.
Beyond the good work and fun times, the Urban Pilgrimages are a bridge for young adults to become the leaders of our Church and our community. Many Pilgrimage sites have a strong relationship with the Episcopal Service Corps, and pilgrims are encouraged to make connections and grow in their faith. Ultimately, the Urban Pilgrimage empowers young adults to take their Pilgrimage experience of witness and examination back to their own communities.
The 2014 Urban Pilgrimages are planned and prepared for young adults and campus ministers to seize this opportunity of social justice work and faith formation. Our application is up too, but act fast to secure a spot for you and your group in your favorite city.
These experiences of faith and social action aren’t imaginary; they are real.
And we are ready to bring them to you.