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The Sankofa Pilgrimage: 10-Day Journey to Reconnect with the Past to Build a Better Future

by Meghan Claussen, Director of Communications at First Church of San Diego

This July, join First Church of San Diego on a 10-day pilgrimage of discovery – traveling through the northeastern U.S. to uncover how our history informs our current realities, while unpacking our implicit biases. Sankofa means “It is not foolish to go back and get that which you have forgotten.” And that sets the tone for this experience.

We are inviting individuals throughout the California-Pacific Conference to join us on this journey so they can bring the learnings back to their communities. It all takes place July 1-11 and is led by Rev. Brittany Juliette Hanlin and Rev. Trudy D. Robinson. They’ll guide us through Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Virginia.

This trip is about learning and cultivating relationships with each other by opening our hearts to important conversations of faith. This pilgrimage is a journey that begins long before we depart on July 1. Our present-day reality was born from the actions of the past and as we uncover and confront that which we did not know, we can begin to build a better world for generations to come. We’ll visit places like the Plimoth Patuxet Plantation, Ellis Island, Central Park, Mother Bethel AME Church, Harriet Tubman UGRR Visitor Center, and the National African American History & Culture.

First United Methodist Church of San Diego is dedicated to racial justice, and we believe this effort starts with studying the wrongs that have been done in the past to help us identify the biases we carry today. As explained by Rev. Trudy Robinson, “The greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. But given Christianity’s past and continued participation in racism over the centuries, we have not loved all of our neighbors. Not by a long shot. However, we can seek repentance as we commit to a new way to be.”

We hope you will seriously consider the importance of a trip like this for yourself, our church, and the world we are creating. Our 2023 pilgrimage was transformative because the Spirit of God greeted us every step of our journey together and we expect the same this year! We pray God will transform our hearts and reveal ways to better become God’s beloved community.

Registration deadline is March 10. Get all the details online, including important pre-study dates, the cost and what’s included, and registration details.