WALK TO JERUSALEM!
WALK TO JERUSALEM!
Fremont UMC is Walking To Jerusalem.
January 9th was the kickoff date when the Fremont United Methodist congregation began to collectively walk, run, bike or aerobic exercise the 5,500 miles from Portland, Oregon to Jerusalem, with the goal of reaching our destination by Easter. Fifty-five organizing packets were distributed with each including weekly cards to keep track of miles and a devotional booklet for spiritual renewal. Devotional booklets were also given to those who are unable to walk so they can share in the experience. A world map is displayed in the church narthex with a ribbon showing our progress. Each week, an article is posted next to the map giving information about our weekly destinations.
We were amazed that in the first 3 weeks we had collectively walked 2,800 miles! We visited cities such as Forsyth, Montana; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, D.C. In Baltimore, Maryland we stopped and visited the Susannah House and then made our way to New York City and “flew” across the Atlantic to Casa Blanca, Morocco.
We have had so much participation in this project that it has been possible to wind our way around Northern Africa. We have become more energized spiritually and physically because of our journey together. We have learned about the lives of the people in countries such as Niger, Chad, Northern Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Egypt. The poverty, the need for clean water, and sanitation in many of the countries has inspired us to raise funds during this Lenten season for an Advanced Special project in the East Africa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in Rwanda. This project (#3020477), is aimed at providing safe and clean water, improvement of sanitation at the village level, youth training in income generating activities, and spiritual counseling. We are also contributing toward a UMCOR fund that will provide nets for those at risk for malaria in Africa.
The Walk to Jerusalem has deepened our congregations’ connection with one other. Here is what one of our congregation had to say about the experience:
“The Fremont Walk to Jerusalem was the ‘right thing at the right time’ for me personally, and I am so grateful to everyone who made it happen. As I “walk through” a season of personal loss, it has helped me know that others are always with me on my journey. For me, walking with anyone has always been a staple of my life. But now, walking has taken on an even more important meaning for me, as something comforting. It’s so great that we are celebrating the idea of health being part of our spiritual practice. There is not a focus on any achievement, but only on our personal journey. Our destination is a spiritual one: arriving at a place of meeting Jesus on our own path.”
Our thanks go to our Parish Nurse, Claudia Michel, for giving us this opportunity. She tells us, “Walking is mentioned 247 times in the Bible. Our bodies are made for walking: we were built to stand upright. Our organs function best when given room to work, and joints need movement to maintain good range of motion. Regular walking can prevent depression, lengthen lifespan, lower stress levels, relieve arthritis and back pain, strengthen muscles, bones and joints and improve sleep. The Walk to Jerusalem is a great way to exercise the physical body by walking, exercise the spiritual body by praying, and exercise the mind on our journey together”
We will arrive in JERUSALEM by Palm Sunday. A big celebration is planned with special breads served in the coffee hour, PRAISING THE LORD!
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