Memorials and Monuments - Wednesday

Written by Malcolm Machesky

Thank God we were there! 

Thank God we were there! 

So we started our last day later than usual because it was the last day and we're pretty tired. We hopped on the hotel shuttle to the Metro Station and headed in DC. First stop, the Washington Monument in all its glory. It was an amazingly beautiful day stop we were lucky. Then we headed over to the World War II Memorial where we took in the scene. After that it was a short walk to the  Vietnam Memorial, that had every person in chronological order of when they died. After we looked for someone with a similar name, we spent some time paying for them.

We had lunch at a cafe and after we are we where educated by Father Josh about how to juggle oranges. Since we weren't very good at it, we just need up throwing them around. After our sticky lunch we made it to the Lincoln Memorial. We all stood on the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his 'I Have a Dream' speech.

We have a dream... 

We have a dream... 

After that we went to see the MLK Memorial. It was nice and peaceful and there where many trees all around the memorial.

After some down time we walked all the way to the metro but not until we had some ice-cream by the Washington Memorial. It was hot, we had to!

Back on the metro we travelled to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner where we decompressed from the long day and enjoyed a great meal. The bread was great.

Back on the metro, we made our way back to the hotel for Evening Prayer. There was a lot of walking today, Fr. Josh had over 18,000 steps but it was a good end to a great pilgrimage.

Washington, DC -- Tuesday

Tuesday, June 28th

Written by the ladies on the Pilgrimage

 

On the metro

On the metro

Today we left "she who would not be parked" at the hotel and took the shuttle to the local Metro Station. We got onboard a shiny, new Metro car, complete with the 'new' car smell, and headed to the Smithsonian. First up, the American History Museum where we saw artifacts from World War I and II, the Civil and Indian Wars, complete with specific bombshells from those eras. We all entered the Star Spangled Banner exhibit as we arrived. The dimly lit room held the same American flag that Francis Scott Key saw at a distance. It was cool for us to see the flag's history and evolution. In another exhibit we learned about how the doctors and the mechanics worked together to create a pacemaker. At the exhibit of the Presidents, several of us even stood at a replica of the presidential podium to deliver our own speeches!

Walking across the mall we entered the Air and Space Museum and were mesmerized by the planes and spacecrafts hanging above us. We saw the moon rover. There were trophies for the best planes and how long they were able to fly and their distances.

After an amazing lunch...

After an amazing lunch...

We got some marvelous food from the food trucks down the street - an assortment of crepes, pizza, gyros, pies, and salads. We picnicked in the grass and enjoyed the live music in the plaza. 

The walk to the Holocaust Museum was a hot and sticky one. We arrived at the emotional museum and waited for our entrance time. Before getting on the elevator to the permanent exhibit we all received 'passports' with stories of an individual who experienced the horrors first had. Few words were spoken as we walked through the exhibit. The pictures and videos were overwhelming at times. We gathered at the end and shared our thoughts and feelings but we will be processing this for a long time. At prayer later that evening we focused on God's creation and what that means, and how God's creation was destroyed during the Holocaust and what it would take for that to not happen again.

After the museum we headed up to Union Station in search of dinner, which we found in the form of "Johnny Rockets". Back on the metro we headed back to the hotel to load onto the bus in an attempt to see DC and some of the memorials by night. Sighted were the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial. We were able to get off of the bus and see the Iwo Jima Memorial, where we looked for the 'thirteen hand' in the sculpture. 

The rain got heavier so we climbed back on board and headed back to the hotel. Abby led Evening Prayer on our ride back home which was a great end to a fabulous day. 

 

Our First Day in DC

Monday, June 27th

 

By Adeline Hennebury

 

At the end of the day, we discovered that we spent almost the entire time at church, with a little morning cemetery visit. I personally thought it was great! 

We left bright and early from our hotel in Maryland, but still I don't think we missed the morning traffic. Our first stop was at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of DC. Known for the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the burial place of so many presidents, we planned this stop so Rachel could visit the grave of her grandmother. While she did this, the rest of us watched (from a distance) as the guard was switched. Apparently a very long, bit confusing process, and I left very unsure of what had occurred. Our plan is to look up a YouTube video showing the process. 

We boarded our bus with some gratification, as it was already very warm out and wanted that AC, and set off for the National Cathedral. We battled the DC traffic with several blocked off streets, narrow two way streets, and some reckless drivers, but Fr. Josh managed to guide our oversized vehicle to the Cathedral. I was awed.  

On our way into the Cathedral

On our way into the Cathedral

Though not as large as St. John the Divine, National Cathedral is stunning! We arrived just in time for the 12:00 Holy Eucharist, went to a local restaurant for lunch, and returned for our personal tour. Our lovely tour guide, also known as Fr. josh, led us around, and remembered the majority of the facts he had learned 20 years ago, much to our enjoyment. We were able to spend almost an hour journaling on our own before the 5:30 service of Evening Prayer. Feeling like that was plenty of church for one day, we came back to the hotel for a 'traditional' DC pizza meal (I personally didn't know there was a classic DC pizza) to check off another Bucket List item.

I enjoyed myself tremendously, and especially loved the stained glass windows, pilgrimage center, and the children's church. My favorite stained glass window was the huge Rose Window about the front doors that had a free kind of feeling, with a light-catching crystal in the lower half. I also loved the space window, which had an actual moon rock featured in the glass moon.

The Space Window with the moon rock... 

The Space Window with the moon rock... 

We located the Pilgrimage Room, which were soft and carpeted, with books and prayers for travelers. We also visited the children's area, which I loved. If you have not been there before, look it up, or just imagine a normal sized church shrunk to fit pre-schoolers, down to a mini-Paschal candle. It was so cute! 

We learned so much, and I loved the Cathedral.  I shared with the group that we could have spent our WHOLE pilgrimage in that building, even sleeping there.

Come back tomorrow for our experiences on the mall... 

 

Feeling a bit giant in the Children's Chapel

Feeling a bit giant in the Children's Chapel

Sunday on the Road

We said good-bye to Holmes early in the morning and traveled back into New York City for one last time. Returning to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine we arrived in time for the 9am Holy Eucharist.  

God was truly looking down on us as we were actually able to parallel park "she who could not be parked". Update later on potential name change for our faithful mini-bus. 

Rachel's godmother was able to join us for the worship service! It was so awesome to meet you Jen. We sat in the huge choir stalls, some of us barely able to see over the stall in front of us.  It was comforting to see that it's not only St. James that has issues with our audio system, as the lector had to project her voice over the huge fans when her microphone was not working. 

We greeted the priest, The Reverend Mary Jett, and presented her with her very own Flat Jesus! As we we were on the road we were notified that there was a Flat Jesus spotting waiting for a bus near the cathedral. It seems that one of the many Flat Jesi (which is the preferred plural of Jesus, in case you were wondering) we placed in the catheral on Saturday was found on Sunday! We love it when a plan comes together. Check out the Flat Jesus Facebook page!

Heading south on I-95 we made our way to DC by early evening. We dined on amazing local Chinese food delivered to our hotel. Settling in we prepared ourselves for a full few days in DC.... 

A Full Day in NYC - Saturday

By Samantha Tousignant

 

Saturday, June 25

 

On the Cathedral steps

On the Cathedral steps

After breakfast at the camp,  we met by the lake 'on the rocks' for morning prayer. Following our prayer, bus ride into the city, and several subway stops, we finally reached our destination of St. John the Divine Cathedral's Children's Garden.  As we walked around the circular garden, we could see different animal sculptures made by different ages of students around the country.  Next, we met up with Pastor Chris's sister at V&T's pizza place for lunch.  All of us really enjoyed the pizza, but we weren't sure if it was 'traditional' New York Style pizza.  However, we managed to gobble up all 3 large pies. Then, we walked back to the cathedral for our "on common ground" tour.  During the tour we were able to see how the front panel sculptures, over the main doorway to the cathedral, showed people from around the world gathering together holding palms. Just as Jesus was welcomed by the crowd with palm branches, this symbolizes welcoming all people to the cathedral.  For example, there was the 'Shen tou' vases to symbolize the Japanese, the gold cabinets to represent the Buddhist religion, and the 7 different chapels given to each separate country.  Also, the different bays which depicted images from the Old Testament to the New Testament and then to the more modern images.  We also noted how the sacred number 7 kept occurring through the the church.  For example, there were 7 chapels, 7 candles at the alter, 7 bays, and 7 points on the star on the stingless window in the back of the cathedral.  Then, we went to a workshop where we created our own symbol, taking what we gleaned from our tour.  When you see them ask them what their creation means...

  • Father Josh created a scene including the Celtic cross a man and the Loch Ness monster
  • Samantha created an image of herself smiling
  • Malcolm made the solar system in the universe
  • Kyle made a man riding a turtleAbby created a pencil and a piece of paper
  • Adeline made a colorful angel
  • Michaela created her hand with contrasting colored feathers and a red origami crane
  • Pastor Chris made a rainbow scene with a cross draped in rainbow fabric
  • Rachel made a book mark with meaningful initials
  • JoAnn, Pastor Chris' sister made a colorful letter A for accessibility
  • Daniel created a button picture with yellow and red combining to made 1 orange button
  • and last but not least, Mr. Matt made a heart with blue and red tissue paper coming together to make purple.  

Following the workshop, we headed to Time Square where we saw Pastor Chris's station from when she was a police officer and we walked her beat! As we were walking to St. Mary's church we were able to cross off another task on our bucket list.  We saw the naked cowboy in Time Square and took a picture with him then gave him a Flat Jesus which he taped to his guitar.  Then, we walked to St. Mary the Virgin church, also known as Smoky Mary's, for evening prayer.  It was very interesting for all of us to see a different form of service than we are used to.  Finally, we went to Central Park, played, and climbed on the rocks and sang, "Seek Ye First" to cross off another item on our Rite 13 Bucket List.  We all went to a deli where we all tried something new and shared a couple slices of New York's famous strawberry cheesecake.  Then, we ended the day and headed back to camp for our last night in New York City.   

Our Time Downtown - Friday

By Daniel Righter

 

Friday, June 24

 

After waking up slightly later than the previous day, we, as a group, proceeded to eat as much as possible, gather as much effort as we could and cram into the pilgrimage bus that we call "She who will not be parked" due to it's immense size. The ride to the heart of New York City was filled with songs from the 80s along with confusion on where to park the bus and before we knew it, our destination was right in front of us. Following our arrival, we went to St Paul's Trinity, a well known landmark which housed victims of 9-11 as well as countless men and women who volunteered to help rebuild the fallen towers and the lives of the broken victims. Inside, one of us placed a Flat Jesus on the Pilgrimage altar for all visitors to admire. Lunch came shortly afterward at a local deli which was eaten in the blazing sun. After putting on gallons of sunscreen, we visited the 9-11 memorial. Our visit to the memorial was filled with prayers and stories about all of the brave men and women who tragically died on that day as well as the legacy of the twin towers even if the towers themselves may be gone, their history will live on forever. Afterwards, we walked over to Trinity church for evening prayer and had dinner from multiple food carts on the street. The awesome subway ride back to the bus wrapped up the day very well and overall, the day couldn't have been better.   

Lighting candles at Trinity Church

Lighting candles at Trinity Church

Thursday's Adventures

 By Rachel Cryberg, with a little help from her friends!

Frolicking on the beach... 

Frolicking on the beach... 

After breakfast, we drove into Queens and saw some really cool bungalows by the beach. We all went to the beach and played around in the water and, inevitably, got wetter than we planned. The ocean smelled amazing and the water was freezing! We will have sand in between our toes and in our bags forever. Beach 97th Street had a local food court and feasted on nachos, burgers, Pork sandwiches and really good fries. After lunch we took some pictures, hopped back in the car and headed for the lower west side. 

Lunch on the boardwalk

Lunch on the boardwalk

We had some time to kill before our much anticipated dinner at Ninja New York. Chris stayed with the bus while we explored Battery Park. We walked the labyrinth and visited the gardens. We also looked at the names of those who were remembered for fighting in the Atlantic in World War 2. Another memorial we saw was the Merchant Marine memorial.

The art that was in the court of the Twin Towers was very badly damaged and is now located in Battery Park. 

On our way back up to the restaurant, we stopped by a park and were mesmerized by a local band -- Rollie Pollie Guacamole --we thought from afar was a 'death metal' band but realized as soon as we entered the park that they were really a family friendly band. We figured that out by the 80 plus strollers that lined the perimeter and the hundreds of little ones running amok. 

When we got to the Ninja New York restaurant, they ushered all eleven of us into a small elevator. They promptly scared us as the doors opened. That was only the first of many! The presentations of the food was beautiful; some of the plates were lit on fire -- like the dragon sushi-- and some had glowing dry ice plated with it.

So cool! 

So cool! 

Most impressive was Kyle, he had sushi for the very first time and loved it! He was not timid or afraid and ate it all. With gusto! It was awesome. 

On the road...

Gathered together for Holy Eucharist at 7am. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared by Fr. Josh at 7:30am. Packed the bus and on the road by 8:15. 

The eleven pilgrims, along with Flat Jesus and Topher, ready to hit the road. 

The eleven pilgrims, along with Flat Jesus and Topher, ready to hit the road. 

There are so many people to thank... We promise to list them all later. But for now, thank you for your prayers and support. We wouldn't be on this journey without you.

We are heading to Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference center in Brewster, NY which is where we'll be staying until Sunday. Each day or plan is to travel into NYC.  

Follow us on Facebook or with the blog here for the best updates. 

Peace and Love, 

Pastor Chris