Local Parish Fosters Racial Understanding with Pilgrimage to ‘Lynching Memorial’

National Memorial for Peace and Justice.jpeg

Members from St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia, embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage to a lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. Pilgrims began the 340-mile round trip to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice to experience the story of more than 4,400 people who were lynched in this country. The 82 travelers also visited the nearby Legacy Museum, which draws a connection from slavery to mass incarceration in our country.

According to Catherine Meeks, founding executive director of the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, pilgrimages like this demonstrate that “the work of racial healing and reconciliation in the church will be done most effectively at the parish level. It delights me to see a parish taking the initiative to do this work, and I am deeply grateful to Rev. Dr. Angela Shepherd and the St. Bartholomew pilgrims for making this important trip.”

The travelers encountered many barriers throughout the trip that symbolized, to many, the discomfort of spiritual change. The pilgrims faced issues with the transportation company and travel delays, which allowed travelers ample time to consider the history of racial violence – even while stranded roadside on 1-85 on a hot summer day.

“The fact that we went as a church, a community of faith, amplified, almost prism-like, the ferocity of getting as close as we possibly could to the evil reality of lynching,” trip organizer Scotty Greene added. “Our shared faith in Christ got us down that road to do that. For me, this pilgrimage was functioning as Ken Wilber described religion, ‘not a conventional bolstering of consciousness but a radical transmutation and transformation at the deepest seat of consciousness itself.’ As another pilgrim shared with me, I’ll never be the same.”

Read the full article from ENS to learn more.