Pilgrimages and the ‘We’ Factor

For time immemorial people around the world have gone on pilgrimages. Pilgrimages can take many forms and can serve many purposes. Some pilgrimages are for people to experience something meaningful in a time and place that is different from what they normally know. Other pilgrimages are to help people learn about the past. Still others are to help people connect with other people who they care about but are not a part of their daily lives.

In 2020, COVID put a stop to many pilgrimages around the world. Suddenly, we as a species were mostly confined to limited spaces. Formal pilgrimages of all kinds were paused or canceled. This was certainly true within the United Methodist Church. Our yearly pilgrimage, called Annual Conference, stopped in the way that we have always known it. This year as we move forward into the developing new normal that we live in, we returned to our pilgrimage of Annual Conference. This conference was a mix of in-person and online and was the best way we have all been together for conference since everything with COVID started.

I have to say, this experience was good for my soul. I connected with the people who were physically present and the people who participated online. It was a great experience because no matter where we were, in person or not, we were all gathered together to do the business of the church. This is a true blessing. Connecting with other people who are traveling the same walk of faith that we are traveling at St. Mark’s was refreshing. We all have places where we are thriving and we all have places where we are struggling but the importance of the “We” factor cannot be understated. It is my sincere hope that the “we” factor of conference translates into all that happens in our community of St. Mark’s. We are thriving in some spaces and we are struggling in others but when push comes to shove, WE are doing all of this together and that is such a blessing from God.

Many Blessings,


  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.