Berkeley Divinity School’s senior pilgrimage, typically taken over spring break, this year will be in Jerusalem.
For over a decade, Berkeley Divinity School’s senior class has gone on a Canterbury pilgrimage over Spring break. With the exception of Spring 2015, when the seniors went to Rome, this capstone experience has centered on students staying on or near the Cathedral close of Anglicanism’s mother Church, and spending the week immersed in the life and work of this holy and historic place, shaped by the Benedictine pattern of work, prayer, and service.
These pilgrimages have been marked by the personal hospitality of Robert Willis, the recently retired dean of the Cathedral, whose online ministry during the pandemic opened a sense of Canterbury’s remarkable character to a wider world. During the pandemic however, the Berkeley senior pilgrimage was suspended, although the School included some students from the classes of ’20 and ‘21 in the Spring 2022 trip to Canterbury. Berkeley hopes to offer other members of the already-graduated classes who missed the experience to go to Canterbury in 2023 and 2044.
Dean Andrew McGowan reflects:
“Anglicanism is a global communion and not an English one, and ‘Canterbury’ has come to mean more than a single place. Since the purpose of the senior pilgrimage is to experience both the depth and the contemporary breadth of the Anglican Communion, we will be varying the destinations for future pilgrimages, seeking to engage with different holy places, various local Anglicans and peoples of other faiths and none, and to remind ourselves of the complex history of a Communion that has great blessings as well as difficult experiences found up in its history.”
The diversity of expressions and cultural contexts for Anglicanism, and understanding Anglican traditions in the context of religiously diverse communities, are essential for today’s leaders in training to experience and appreciate. A sacred place for not only Christianity but also Judaism and Islam, Jerusalem presents Berkeley students with the richness of holy sites for the Abrahamic faiths, and an experience in interreligious relations and reconciliation.