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I first heard about the Camino de Santiago several years ago by watching a movie entitled simply “The Way.” It is the story of a father who goes to France following the death of his son while hiking the Camino. While the father’s original intention was to retrieve his son’s body, in a combination of grief and homage to his son, he decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail, taking his son’s ashes with him. While walking the Camino, the father meets three other pilgrims from around the world who are looking for greater meaning in their lives. The movie tells a wonderful tale of how each of them is transformed during their time walking together on the Camino. The movie ends where the trail ends—at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain—where the four pilgrims go their separate ways, forever changed by their experience.

Having spoken with a number of people who have walked all or some portion of the Camino, there is something sacred and profound about choosing to become a pilgrim. The Camino has been a well-traveled path for Christians since the Middle Ages, and having the chance to step out of our routine for a short time next summer to walk a portion of the Camino is a special opportunity. Mission trips typically have a stated purpose to serve others, but I’m convinced that the greater purpose of a mission trip is twofold: to build relationships and to experience God’s grace. This particular trip will not have a service component, but will be all about building relationships and experiencing God’s grace. Just as the father in The Way was changed by the people he met as he walked the Camino, we’ll be transformed by the people we will meet from around the world and by the time that we will spend together. My prayer is that everyone on the trip will be open to see God’s grace as we travel the path together. We will each experience that grace in different ways, and we’ll learn from one another by sharing those experiences.

There may be some hiccups with transportation arrangements, some bruised and tired feet, and who knows what else may come our way. Despite these distractions, God has something very special is in store for us on the Camino and I hope that your son or daughter will choose to be a part of it! I am excited to be one of the leaders on this trip and look forward to the opportunity to walk alongside the youth of Myers Park Presbyterian Church next June 21-July 1, 2019.

We will have an additional information meeting on Oct. 21 during the Sunday School Hour for both youth and their parents.

Bob McKinney
Myers Park Presbyterian Church Elder
Former Clerk of Session