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A pilgrimage of trust: Hugs, high-fives help build trust, erase divide

More than 500 people participated in the Walk of Trust May 28. The walk on the afternoon of May 28 was part of the weekend-long St. Louis Pilgrimage of Trust and was intended to be a first step toward healing deep divisions in the community that have surfaced since the unrest in Ferguson.

Wearing red hats and purple dresses, a handful of women from Galilee Baptist Church on Delmar Boulevard in the Central West End of St. Louis waved and shouted while receiving hugs and high-fives from participants in the Walk of Trust who passed by their church.

The walk on the afternoon of May 28 was part of the weekend-long St. Louis Pilgrimage of Trust taking place in St. Louis May 26-29. The walk was intended to be a first step toward healing deep divisions in the community that have surfaced since the unrest in Ferguson.

Walk aims to build trust needed for a unified community

The St. Louis community often talks the talk about moving forward beyond its divisions, but now it's time to walk the walk.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, St. Louisans and others from throughout the Midwest and beyond are invited to participate in a Walk of Trust to the Chaifetz Arena on the St. Louis University campus. It's a first step to move beyond race, region or other divisions.

Marie Kenyon of the archdiocese's Peace and Justice Commission calls the walk "a wonderful opportunity to publicly witness our hope to bring peace to our community."

Taizé at Baptist Church in north St. Louis breaks down barriers

A Taizé service was held at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis. The gathering began with prayer and song. Ramona Neumann, from the archdiocesean Offfice of Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs, spoke with Regina Franklin, center, and Pat McCarty during a group discussion about trust and fear.

Before Feb. 10, the two Catholics and three Baptists had never met. But after a Taizé service at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church in north St. Louis, they opened up.

When they broke off from the larger group to discuss trust and fear, laughter erupted a couple times as they learned a little about their differences and similarities. Other times they listened closely as each described struggles they've had and how those difficulties led to a stronger faith when they realized God was at their side.

Pilgrimage of Trust events aim to make an impact

Brother Emile, from the Taizé community in France, spoke with others during a small groups disscussion at Incarnate Word Church in Chesterfield. Other evenings of prayer and conversation will lead up to the event in May.

Jackson Howard is eager to see the impact a few monks from France will have, not only on thousands of people of faith, but also the secular community in St. Louis.

"Hopefully it's a chance not only for the Christian community but for the whole St. Louis community to come together," Howard, a member of The Journey Church, said after an evening of prayer and reflection at Incarnate Word Church in Chesterfield Oct. 26.

Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Trust has appeal for young adults

Ukrainians led the singing at a gathering at the Taizé Community in Taizé, France. The community includes more than 100 brothers -- Catholics and Protestants from about 30 nations.  The community serves as a sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and between separated peoples. Young people have been coming to Taizé in increasing numbers from every continent. Church leaders, including St. John Paul II, have visited.

James Comninellis and Brian Miller were impressed by the sights and sounds of Taizé, France, and are helping to replicate it in St. Louis.

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