Eight members of the diocesan Racial Justice and Reconciliation Ministry committee spent this past weekend in Glynn and McIntosh counties, for a pilgrimage centered on the feast day of St. Anna Alexander (September 24). The group visited the historic Black parishes of St. Athanasius (Brunswick), St. Ignatius (St. Simons), and St. Cyprian’s (Darien); reflected on slavery with lament and confession at Butler Island and the Wanderer Memorial on Jekyll Island; and prayed at the Glynn County courthouse for justice in the upcoming trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery. The weekend culminated in a joyous celebration at Good Shepherd (Pennick), the church (and adjoining school) that St. Anna founded and devotedly served for decades. 

The committee co-chair, Karen Cote, says that the experience was a long time coming, “The pilgrimage we made this past weekend has been a vision of our group for quite a while. Visiting places where St. Anna most likely traveled and taught, imagining the students whose lives she impacted, honoring her dedication to the people she served while trusting in God’s provision was a wonderfully holy experience. One of the most impactful parts of the weekend for me was the experience of community. Primarily, we have come to know each other through our virtual meetings. Intentionally creating a sacred and brave space on Zoom has resulted in building a significant level of trust and respect within our group. This pilgrimage allowed us to gather as Beloved Community, to experience each other’s energy, to share our stories and to learn about one another, apart from this work.”

The committee is working to make this pilgrimage an annual event, open to anyone in the diocese.

Read the original article in From the Field, a weekly news publication by the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.