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Sacred Sojourn: Relationship-Building Trip Yields Rich Results

sacred sojourn
Rev. Dottie Yunger, Janis Rosheuvel, Fred Tutman (Patuxent Riverkeeper), D.S. Rebecca Iannicelli (Washington East District) and Kirsten Rumsey gather on the Patuxent Riverkeeper’s headquarters lawn directly adjacent to the Patuxent River
"...heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation.” —Captain John Smith

There is nothing quite like experiencing history in the field. Last month, United Methodist Women’s 2013 Executive Secretary for Racial Justice Janis Rosheuvel, Executive Secretary for Economic and Environmental Justice Kathleen Stone, and young adult leader Kirsten Rumsey embarked on a journey that explored the 250-year history of industrialization and its effects on the Chesapeake Bay and the communities that live near its waters. This ecological, historical, and theological justice journey began with a reflection on Jamestown Colony captain and leader John Smith—who said when he first glimpsed the area:

“There is but one entrance by sea into this country, and that is at the mouth of a very goodly bay, 18 or 20 miles broad. The cape on the south is called Cape Henry, in honor of our most noble Prince. The land, white hilly sands like unto the Downs, and all along the shores rest plenty of pines and firs ... Within is a country that may have the prerogative over the most pleasant places known, for large and pleasant navigable rivers, heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation.”

During their journey, the small group reflected on the building of a cotton mill along the river utilizing slave labor in the early 1800s. They kayaked on the Patuxent River toward a coal-fired power plant and its devastating output. And they witnessed the gentle beauty of cranes, jumping fish, flowers, crabs and ducks of the Chesapeake Bay area.

Guided by eco-theologian Rev. Dottie Yunger, the small group of sojourners were learning about the communities along the river under the tutelage of Fred Tutman, the Patuxent Riverkeeper. While talking to the mayor and police chief of the small historic village of Eagle Harbor, located within a mile of the Chalk Point coal-fired power plant, they learned of this small and marginalized community’s concerns and hopes.

From June 6-12, 2014, the full sacred journey will take place when Rev. Dottie Yunger, Fred Tutman, Janis Rosheuvel, Kathleen Stone and Kirsten Rumsey will guide young women from the Baltimore-Washington area, along with racial justice and environmental jurisdictional coordinators chosen throughout this year.    

If you wish to learn more about this creative and powerful journey, do not hesitate to contact Rev. Kathleen Stone, kstone@unitedmethodistwomen.org, or Janis Rosheuvel,  jrosheuvel@unitedmethodistwomen.org, for more information.

Last Updated: 03/20/2014

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