NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A 10-day Wesleyan Pilgrimage in England planned for October will help United Methodist clergy and lay leaders understand more clearly the missional nature of Methodism practiced by John and Charles Wesley.
Early registration discounts are available for the Oct. 4-14 pilgrimage, which will immerse the leaders in the practical theology of the Wesley brothers. Scholarships are available for 20 provisional elders and deacons.
"Every United Methodist leader, clergy and lay, at least once in his or her life needs to make pilgrimage to two places: the Holy Land of Israel, to walk the land Jesus and his apostles walked – and England, the land where John and Charles Wesley founded and nurtured the Methodists societies," says Steve Manskar, Director of Wesleyan Leadership at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD).
Manskar, who will co-lead the third annual pilgrimage, says that during the Wesleyan Pilgrimage, pilgrims will learn about "and experience the method of Methodism, which is living, learning, praying, and worshiping in intentional Christian community.
"Many pilgrims have shared how their hearts were changed by participating with other pilgrims in the daily rituals of Holy Communion in the morning and Compline at night," Manskar adds.
Prominent Wesley scholar Dr. Paul Chilcote, Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio, will lead the pilgrimage with Manskar.
During the pilgrimage, which is being sponsored by GBOD and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), pilgrims will learn and pray where the Wesleys prayed and served. In addition, they will reflect, pray, make new friends in small groups, worship daily, and make connections between the Wesleyan heritage and missional leadership for today.
Participants will explore Epworth, the Wesleys' birthplace; Oxford, where John and Charles Wesley received theological education and led the Holy Club; Bristol, the home of the Methodist societies and class meeting; and London, where both Wesley brothers experienced assurance of salvation and John Wesley built the center of British Methodism.
"To have walked in the footsteps of the leaders of our heritage gave me a deeper connection not only to our past, but I was also forced to consider where we are going with our Church today," said the Rev. Curtis Bray from the Mississippi Conference, who made the pilgrimage in 2011.
Rev. JoAnne Amaral of the Minnesota Conference, who also took the journey last year, said the pilgrimage is "a wonderful way to give our heritage as United Methodist legs and feet."
"Too often, working in the church we tend to focus on the 'what' we have to do, rather than the 'why' we do it," Amaral said following her experience. "The Wesley Pilgrimage reminded me why I am a United Methodist clergy, and more importantly, why I am a Christian – because as Wesley would say, 'best of all, God is with us.' I am grateful for the experience and would recommend it highly if, like me, you need to be reminded why we do what we do."
An early registration discount of $600 is available for everyone until April 29, and a discount of $300 will be available from April 30 through June 30. After Aug. 1, the cost will be $2,595. GBHEM is making $1,000 scholarships available for 20 provisional elders and deacons, lowering their cost to $995 until the April 29 early registration deadline.
The cost includes 10 nights' lodging, most meals, and all admission fees. The pilgrims will be responsible for their own round-trip airfare to London and ground transportation to Sarum College in Salisbury.
For details and registration information, go to www.gbod.org/wesleypilgrimage. Contact Manskar at GBOD at firstname.lastname@example.org, or toll free at 877.899.2780, Ext. 1765 if you have questions. Registration must be completed no later than Sept. 7.
GBOD's mission is to support Annual Conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, GBOD is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. Visit www.gbod.org for more information or call the Communications Office at 877.899.2780, Ext. 1726.