Pilgrimage for Peace to stop at Fairfield University on 9/11


Media Advisory

The 2009 Pilgrimage for Peace walk that began on Sunday, Sept. 6, in New London, Conn., and will last for 50 days, bringing walkers some 1,000 miles through all of the New England states, will stop at Fairfield University on Friday, Sept. 11 at noon. The peace walkers will meet in the Presentation Room in the Kelley Center (across from the Barone Campus Center) with students from Fairfield's Just-Us Residential College and the Program in Peace and Justice Studies.

The group of church and community leaders of all ages and religions say they have discovered the importance of "praying with their feet." As they walk from town to town, they invite people to join them for any part of the journey. This year, an international component has been added with Nicaragua's Kairos Association for Formation arranging for ten Nicaraguans to join the walk, a few at a time.

Many religious traditions support the Pilgrimage: Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, United Church of Christ / Congregational, United Methodist, Episcopal, Baha'i, Roman Catholic, Quaker, Lutheran, Baptist, and Presbyterian. The journey takes the group to elementary schools, high schools, and institutions of higher learning as well as to retirement communities and private homes among people concerned about hands-on, active peacemaking and systemic change. Several hundred communities volunteer to provide the day-to-day needs of simple meals and sleeping spaces.

But more important to the mission of the walk, the host groups gather people to share ideas on how they can become peacemakers for our time when violence, injustice, and disregard for the environment have devastated lives and the planet.

History, they say, gives them examples of the call and response to walk for peace and justice, including Gandhi protesting the salt tax in India, the lost boys of Sudan seeking a safe home, Martin Luther King, Jr., demonstrating human rights for all, and Jesus advocating for a new commandment of love.

The Pilgrimage for Peace began four years ago when Eric Swanfeldt, the founder and pastor of an Intentional Methodist community suggested to a group of clergy that it was time to walk for peace. Since then, both clergy and lay people have been involved. This is their fourth year and longest walk. Just two years ago a small group of people walked for two weeks around eastern Connecticut, averaging 20 to 25 miles a day. Last year the walk lasted 42 days and went from Connecticut of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and back to Massachusetts and Connecticut. This year's 50-day walk will include all the New England states.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 8, 2009

Vol. 42, No. 48