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Canada: Bishop launches walk through seven archdeaconries

Posted on: May 27, 2015 10:05 AM
Photo Credit: McKnight/Diocese of Fredericton
Related Categories: Canada, Fredericton, pilgrimage

[Diocese of Fredericton] If you see a man with a walking stick on the side of a Charlotte County road in the next two weeks, chances are it’s David Edwards, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton. He’s on a 14-day spiritual pilgrimage, the first of many, he says.

The Anglican geography in New Brunswick, Canada, divides it into seven archdeaconries, and Bishop David chose St. Andrews for his first annual pilgrimage.

“My intent is to walk through each archdeaconry over seven summers,” said the bishop. “I think it’s important that a bishop be seen as the shepherd of the flock, and there is a need for me to be out there — visible and accessible.”

His goal on this pilgrimage is to have the opportunity to pray and to meet with church members and others along the way. People are invited to join him for an hour, an afternoon or a day. The highlight will be meeting many people, he said.

This isn’t the first time he’s taken on such an ambitious project. Before immigrating to Canada, he tackled long distance routes in Cornwall and Northern Ireland, as well as the Pennine Way, a national trail in England, his birthplace.

The walk begins Sunday after a confirmation at the Church of the Resurrection in Grand Bay-Westfield. He hopes to get to the Church of the Good Shepherd in West Saint John by that evening, a distance of 13 kilometres.

Almost every night will be spent on a cot in an Anglican church along the way. He has no problem with that, having slept on many floors during his previous pilgrimages.

“I didn’t even have a pillow,” he said of one journey. “I rolled up my walking boot in a towel and used that.”

Trevor Fotheringham, a long-distance walker from Saint John who last year hiked the 789-km Camino Way in Spain, has been the bishop’s trainer and route planner and will be with him every step of the way.

The bishop’s pilgrimage will include trips to Grand Manan and Campbello Islands. The average daily walk will be about 13 km for a total of 189 km.

Follow Bishop Edwards during the pilgrimage on his blog.