Participants in a River to River Journey for Jesus were provided with overnight accommodations and a hearty meal at The House of the Good Shepherd Retirement Community in Hackettstown on the five-day walk’s first night.
Fifteen walkers, who began at the Delaware River in Belvidere, finished Day One at the House on Monday, July 25. They were given shelter from a storm in addition to sleeping arrangements and a good dinner.
The walk was coordinated by the Episcopal Church and its Diocese of Newark. In all, the walkers, who would be joined by nearly 50 others over the course of the week, were looking to complete 50 miles in five days, from the Delaware River to the Hudson River in Hoboken.
According to The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith, Bishop of Newark, along the way the group would visit over a dozen churches in their “Journey for Jesus.”
“We were very glad to offer the walkers a place to sleep and eat,” said Deborah Beards, CEO of The House. “I give them a lot of credit. Walking 50 miles in five days is not something the average person aspires to do.”
Added Jeanette Hile, Chaplain at The House, “We were honored to host the Journey for Jesus as their first stop. All the pilgrims were welcomed by staff and residents alike. To share meals and worship together transforms all helping to understand the sacrifices our Lord made for us.”
This was the first time such a walk was organized by the group, which in addition to raising awareness, was a fundraiser for the church’s Alleluia Fund, which is for church-related projects.
Rev. John Mennell of Montclair noted, “This is a way to join God as we shape our future. What better way to see God in our community than to walk the neighborhoods and see what’s around us every day.”
Debra Cook, a Sacred Artist from Bloomfield, chronicled much of the journey with her “art studio on wheels,” painting oil paintings along the way at each of the churches that were visited.
Among the other stops for the group were churches in Califon, Mendham, and Summit.