Dots. Lots of dots.

Connecting the Dots.

This will clearly just be a picture into my mind and my thinking. I can’t tell you exactly where these thoughts are going to lead. They might dry up and die almost as fast as I write them. On the other hand, they might just be the seeds that blossom into a much broader vision for the presbytery. But for now I simply want to give the benefit of what is going on in my chaotic mind and in my dreamy head.

I have a number of dots, some isolated experiences that when taken together might just paint a bigger picture. Here are the single dots:

  • At the presbytery meeting at Columbia, Vancouver we heard the report of First, Trout Lake and their ministry to the Pacific Crest Trail hikers. Trout Lake is a major re-supply site for the hikers, but it is about twelve miles from the trail to the town. First Church leaders organized a shuttle service that runs about four times a day transporting hikers to and from the trail. In addition, they offer their property for overnight campers and make available bathroom and kitchen facilities.
  • spokenhostel beds
    Spoke’n Hostel in Mitchell

    This last Sunday, while driving back from a long Thanksgiving weekend I located a place in the tiny town of Mitchell (where the Painted Hills are located) that I had heard about, but not actually seen. Spoke ‘n Hostel is a church building that has been re-purposed as a combination hostel for cyclists on the Transamerica Bike Route, a Sunday worshipping community, and a once a week community center.

  • Tuesday I attended a regional planning meeting in Newport for the completion of the Oregon Coast Trail (a 357-mile hiking trail). At this meeting that attracted mayors, county commissioners, Travel Oregon, and even the governor’s office we were told this interesting fact: Currently hospitality on the trail is limited to either expensive motels and hotels or to camping. What was missing were the $20-$25/night community hostels that many pilgrims prefer.
  • caminoLast night while researching a possible study leave for this next year I came across an interesting fact. Many of the albergues (pilgrim hostels) on the Camino de Santiago in Spain are run by churches. One church had bunk beds put in the loft of their building to accommodate Camino pilgrims.
  • I have thought deeply about how the spiritual discipline of hospitality runs deep in our tradition and how we are always looking for ways to practice Christ-like hospitality in our changing contexts.

Those are the dots. It makes me wonder, though, whether these are not just isolated and disconnected dots, but represent the faint outline of an emerging picture.

Pilgrimage. Hospitality. Making room at the inn. Partnering with the community. Reimagining building use. Responding to God’s gentle nudge.

Dots. Lots of individual dots.

I wonder if there will be more to connect the story.

5 thoughts on “Dots. Lots of dots.

  1. There is a hiker/biker hostel in the Taroko Gorge in Taiwan that is partially housed in a Presbyterian church there. Our hospitality indeed reaches far and wide!

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  2. On the trail we call it Trail Magic. When there is an unexpected bit of hospitality extended. I experienced it climbing over Glen Pass in the Sierras this fall. It was as simple as a hiker extending a piece of yummy cheese – and after eating the same boring food on a five day carry it was the most welcome piece of cheese ever! Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) might be a good starting point. They help coordinate trail magic and rides into town along the trail. I’ve also hung out at junctions where the PCTA crosses a remote gravel road with a small bbq and grilled burgers and hot dogs, and had coolers of cold water, sodas and beer. We’ve had hikers step off the trail and stay the afternoon sharing trail stories. It’s pretty magic for the hosts as well as the hikers!

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  3. Cindy,
    “Trail Magic” Love it. Thank you for the reference for the PCTA and how we might partner with them to provide hospitality to the hikers/pilgrims among us. I like what you said about it being magic both for the hosts and the hikers. Sounds like you have had some great experiences on the trail.

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