The goal of this study was to maximize results in conducting pilgrimages as a tool for increasing spirituality maturity at Saint Joseph's Episcopal Church. Important to the pastoral situation of Saint Joseph's was the need to accelerate the development of lay leaders for the expanding ministry. Initial successes with youth pilgrimages and short- term mission gave rise to the hypothesis that maximizing the pilgrimage experience would increase spiritual maturity, which in turn would lead to a deeper level of commitment within the participants for ministry.
The historical background, demographic trends, and pastoral situation which led to this need are explored. Generational differences are explored which impact both the felt needs and the learning styles of the different age groups. Relevant resources are analyzed that detail the historic roots of pilgrimage from ancient times, the way in which pilgrimage as an archetype transcends cultures and religious traditions, and the similarities that exist between pilgrimage and short-term mission experiences. All of these provide valuable insight into the benefits to be gained, as well as abuses to be avoided, in the practice of pilgrimage.
To position the role of pilgrimage within the Episcopal Church, the theology lived in the Church is explored, especially in terms of its natural affinity for a Celtic approach to spirituality, and how this is concretized in the Journey to Adulthood youth program.
Biblical pilgrims and extensive benchmarking of pilgrimage in other faith traditions are explored, which shows the historic value of pilgrimage as well as presenting adaptable learning for a present day practice of pilgrimage.
Ways of measuring spiritual maturity are explored, resulting in the execution of a quantitative survey. A successful revised pilgrimage process is implemented, which results from a pilot conducted as well as the survey results. A process of continuous improvement is outlined for future pilgrimages.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Frederickson, PhD
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Zlatic, Martin, "Maximizing Pilgrimage Experiences as a Tool to Increase Spiritual Maturity within Saint Joseph's Church Participants" (2013). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 116.