Prescot’s Teenage Pilgrims Land in America

By on Monday, August 5, 2013

Liverpool_Virginia_Youth_PilgrimageThree teenagers from Prescot were among a group of 26 young pilgrims arriving in the USA on the weekend.

The travellers plan to grow spiritually and emotionally through the experience, which sees them meeting with Christians of the same age in the state of Virginia.

Danny Lawlor, Dom Waldron and Alyssa Dawber, all 16, join a group of young people from Church of England parishes across Knowsley.

Their American friends visited them in Liverpool in 2012 (pictured), and this year they reunite on the Virginians’ home turf.

As well as fun and social activities, the 10-day visit includes a trek in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a spiritual retreat at Shrine Mont, volunteering with a Camp America-style children’s club, and a special service in the National Cathedral in Washington DC.

“We’re discovering how people who live in other parts of the world practise our faith differently, even if it’s the same faith,” said Danny, a choir member at Prescot Parish Church.

“We’re finding there are also variations within our own diocese [other Merseyside parishes], which is rather strange, as there aren’t a lot of younger congregation in our church to find friends that we can relate to through faith.”

He said he was particularly looking forward to the Shrine Mont visit and working with kids.


Creating a ‘Triangle of Hope’

Virginia and Liverpool’s shared history of the transatlantic slave trade is a particular focus of the pilgrimage. Both dioceses are also twinned with dioceses in Africa.

“Recognising the horrors of the ‘slave triangle’ is our starting point for considering how we can contribute to a ‘Triangle of Hope,'” said Revd Rogers. “We do this by making connections with the modern world – what is the legacy of slavery, and what modern form does it take, with human trafficking, for example?”

Recalling the Virginians’ visit to Liverpool last year, he added, “there has been some very moving times as the pilgrims have grown and matured and in their learning about God and the world.”

Travellers Raise £32k

The pilgrims needed £32,000 for their trip of a lifetime – and they raised it all themselves over a period of two years.

Fundraising events included cake sales, car washes and murder mystery nights.

Pilgrimage leader Reverend Malcolm Rogers of St Gabriel’s Church, Huyton Quarry, praised the young people for their efforts.

“In the National Cathedral, a piece of the moon sits in the centre of a huge stained glass window, symbolising what can be achieved with vision and hard work,” he said.

“Our young people have vision by the bucketful and have worked so hard. They might not ever get to travel to the moon but their impact on society might be no less significant.”

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