Churches

Post image for Summer adventure: Walking the Camino de Santiago with Trinity Church group

In the post and photos below, M-A grad Annalise Deal, who heads for Boston College this fall, talks about her summer experience walking the Camino de Santiago. We’d like to hear how other Menlo Park and Atherton residents spent their summer vacation. Send stories/photos to tips@inmenlo.com.

“The Camino has been a gift, pay it forward.” I read these brief words of wisdom, painted on a tunnel wall just outside of Santiago de Compostela, as our group descended to the Santiago Cathedral after a week-long pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago.

Camino extra

Nine people from Trinity Church in Menlo Park, including myself, travelled to Spain to walk the last 73 miles of the Camino. Like millions of pilgrims before us, we traversed the 2000-year-old route to see the relics of Saint James the Apostle at the Cathedral in Santiago. Even though we have been home for nearly two months, I still find myself reflecting on how to follow the wise words written in the tunnel.

The Camino is littered with “vandalism” — words painted on walls, stones, trashcans and other surfaces meant to inspire fellow pilgrims. These tidbits vary from the common greeting “Buen Camino” to the lyrics of Lennon and McCartney’s “Let it Be” and often provided us with smiles and entertainment along the way. However on our last day of walking, I struggled with the challenge to “pay it forward” as the Camino is nearly impossible to explain to non-peregrinos (Spanish for “pilgrims”).

Camino middle

It is easy to share the physical beauty of the Camino. The countryside is magnificent — much like the landscape of Sonoma County mixed with the climate and pastoral feel of rural England. The path itself varies between beautiful old cobblestones, heavily treaded dirt, and paved country roads as it winds through hills and farm towns, and occasionally crosses Rio de Barrela. Photos cannot quite capture the essence of it, but they do help the viewer to understand some of the inherent beauty.

It is also easy to share the fun and excitement of the pilgrimage while on the Camino. We ate lots of delicious chorizo and fried potatoes, drank lots of “café con leche” (similar to a latte), listened to great live guitar music, and watched World Cup soccer games late into the night. We met people from all over the world — as far from California as China, Belgium and South Africa, and as near as Sacramento —and exchanged our stories and the advice we had picked up as we walked.

Camino end

What I see as the true gifts of the Camino, however, are the emotions and spiritual experiences we felt along the way. These are the hardest to share because it is a place and experience unlike any other I have seen.

The typical social dynamic of many groups is quickly broken down as peregrinos become both more solitary and more united. The best representation of this is the physical way we walked. We left the town or Sarria on our first day of walking as a large group, chatting excitedly as we set out on our adventure. On our last morning leaving Arzua for Santiago, we walked in pairs or alone, quietly, meditatively and thoughtfully.

Camino end_really

Along the way pilgrims walk together, but often peel off for time alone or with someone new, without anyone ever feeling hurt or left out. There is a mutual understanding throughout that each person’s Camino is his or her own, and space is provided accordingly.

This image speaks to the effect of the Camino. More than anything, the Camino provides peace and respite for all souls, and pilgrims are forced to let go of everything that separates them from that spiritual destination.

Photos by Annalise Deal

{ Be the first to comment }

Spotted: Beautiful rose in the garden at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Beautiful rose in the garden at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

We guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the well-tended rose garden at Trinity Church in Menlo Park would yield such a beautiful rose. But we think photographer Gillian Bostock captured it perfectly.

Click to read more →

Charity rummage sale at St. Bede’s in Menlo Park on June 28 will benefit GAIA

Thumbnail image for Charity rummage sale at St. Bede’s in Menlo Park on June 28 will benefit GAIA

St. Bede’s semi-annual rummage sale offers clothes, shoes, books, CDs, household items, toys, knickknacks, craft items and more — you never know what treasures you’ll find — plus free refreshments. The church promises prices that are famously low and friendly volunteers to help you find what you are looking for. The sale takes place in Lehman Hall, the […]

Click to read more →

Barbara Wilcox hopes to go on MPPC mission trip using unique fundraising approach

Thumbnail image for Barbara Wilcox hopes to go on MPPC mission trip using unique fundraising approach

Barbara Wilcox is a relatively new resident of Menlo Park, but the street she lives on has historical roots. It was once the site of Camp Fremont’s bakery. Barbara knows little nuggets of facts like this because the World War I training camp is the subject of her Master’s thesis at Stanford. A former journalist, […]

Click to read more →

Trinity Church kids put Easter baskets together for shelter kids

Thumbnail image for Trinity Church kids put Easter baskets together for shelter kids

Parishioner Holly Tambling orchestrated another beautiful building of Easter baskets at Trinity Church this morning. About 300 baskets with books,  stuffed animals, toys, candy and more were built and will beBe delivered to local shelters.

Click to read more →

Broader community invited to participate in MPPC’s Compassion Weekend – March 29-30

Thumbnail image for Broader community invited to participate in MPPC’s Compassion Weekend – March 29-30

With the goal of making service simple, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and its Open Door Church campuses invite the public to join in serving on 33 projects on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30 — its ninth annual Compassion Weekend. This year, there are opportunities for 4,500 volunteers to participate. To sign up, visit http://cw2014.org. […]

Click to read more →

Photographer Scott R. Kline goes annually on a mission trip to Juarez, a time that stays with him heart and mind

Thumbnail image for Photographer Scott R. Kline goes annually on a mission trip to Juarez, a time that stays with him heart and mind

“You are going to Juarez? Why? Isn’t it dangerous?” This is a typical response every year when we prepare to head to Ciudad Juarez Mexico to build houses, treat sick people, and work with our sponsored students. I can’t really blame people. One doesn’t hear much positive about Juarez. But it is a great experience […]

Click to read more →

As practitioner and church leader, Elizabeth Schwartz anchors her life through Christian Science

Thumbnail image for As practitioner and church leader, Elizabeth Schwartz anchors her life through Christian Science

Vocation and avocation converge in the life of Menlo Park resident Elizabeth Schwartz in her dual roles as Christian Science practitioner and First Reader at her local church. While she was raised a Christian Scientist, she acknowledges that she “made my faith my own while in college.” “It was then that I recognized that it […]

Click to read more →

Handbells add to the sound of Christmas at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Handbells add to the sound of Christmas at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

People hear the word “choir” and most often think of voices, but Trinity Church in Menlo Park has a choir of a different sort, a dozen or so people who are part of a handbell choir called Trinity Ringers. The group will be accompanying a string quartet and vocal choir at the 6:00 pm service […]

Click to read more →

Tim Williams is man behind at the scenes at MPPC’s Christmas Eve services

Thumbnail image for Tim Williams is man behind at the scenes at MPPC’s Christmas Eve services

Eight thousand people will come to one of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church‘s 10 Christmas Eve services, so  Director of Worship Tim William has much to orchestrate. Along with other staff members, he’ll oversee the 100-person all volunteer choir and musicians. Everyone seems up to the challenge, bound by shared beliefs. “The theme this year is Christmas […]

Click to read more →

St. Nicholas visits Trinity Church in Menlo Park, as he has for 30 years

Thumbnail image for St. Nicholas visits Trinity Church in Menlo Park, as he has for 30 years

Menlo Park may have many Santa Clauses but we’re pretty sure St. Nicholas makes an appearance at only one place. As he has for three decades (now that must be a record!), St. Nick, as portrayed by Dick Livermore, visited Trinity Church on Sunday morning. That St. Nick doesn’t wear a red velvet suit may […]

Click to read more →