Join Walk Around the Conference
June 6 Update: After making made some adjustments in their method of walking 500 miles to annual conference, Revs. Justin Judy and Scott Gallgher had only 38 miles to go as of Monday, June 6. The Walk is scheduled to conclude on June 7 when they reach Grove City College for Annual Conference.
Read their daily journal at occasionalthoughts.
Follow Justin and Scott's journey in real time
Revs. Scott Gallagher and Justin Judy invited church members and friends to join them on a 520-mile walk around Western PA to the 2016 Annual Conference session. Some did.
The pair left the UM Conference Center in Cranberry Twp. at 8 a.m., Monday, May 16 heading for Crossroads UMC in Oakdale.
"We are both excited and anxious as we begin this ministry," Gallagher posted on their Occasional Thoughts blog. "Final cuts are being made as we look to lighten the backpack we carry. As we do so it reminds me of how much excess we tend to carry throughout our lives.
"We are so grateful to the congregations, families, and co-walkers who are housing us along the way. Words fail to express how very much we appreciate all the support we have received," he added.
There was a set-back and plans were altered on the second day when Gallagher was sidelined at a Med Express for awhile after experiencing intense pain in his ankle. Judy continued to move forward, walking with others through Canonsburg and other areas of Washington County.
"Adjusting is hard to do when you make all the decisions, but things don’t go according to plan. But, if we are focused on our goal and not on the preparations made we can avoid frustration and move forward," Scott wrote in a Tuesday night blog post. "Adjustment and adaptation are always part of ministry. Don’t let yourself be frozen by frustration."
After making adjustments, and with the help of a shuttle car, the pair were together on the road Tuesday morning.
The purpose of their journey is three-fold: To envelop our Conference in prayer; to draw attention to the need for physical activity and health of clergy and laity, and to emphasize the connection of the church to the communities we serve.
“The Walk will directly connect with 100 church communities,” Gallagher said. “It will enable us to see our Conference in a new way; to merge ministry with physical health, and give us the opportunity to see ministry opportunities that we may have sped by before. The Walk will be a visual witness to the UMC moving ahead.
“The Walk is not a fundraising event,” he added. “It is a prayer-raising, connection-raising, and health awareness-raising event.”
Gallagher and Judy don’t expect others to walk the entire 520 miles with them, but they invite people to join them as they pass through nearby areas -- for any distance anywhere they choose -- or walk in their own communities. The complete route is listed below and they’ll have a web-based tracking system to follow their progress.
“The Western PA Conference is spectacularly beautiful, filled with communities of amazing people, and served by hundreds of clergy and congregations,” the two pastors said in a letter. “However, we often pass through at 25-70 mph or hastily moving from task to task. Whether we travelling in our automobiles or managing our way through busy schedules, we can easily miss out on the beauty and connecting with the people we are called to serve.”
These same schedules and responsibilities can limit the time spent caring for our physical bodies, they added. “Each and every person is beautifully created in the image of God. However, in our work to live out our call we often neglect to take care of ourselves in the same way we wish to care for others,” they noted.
Here’s how to accept the Invitation and join “The Walk”:
- Catch up with Scott and Justin along the journey and walk a mile, or two, or more. (Scott and Justin have to keep a set pace -- a gentle 3 mph.
- If The Walk route doesn’t come near your community, select a day and time and walk through the community your church serves.
- Along the route offer your prayers, encouragement and support for the walkers.
- Sign up here and let Scott and Justin know you will be walking with them.
For further information, contact Scott Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or Justin Judy at email@example.com.
Click on the schedule to download a copy.