A pilgrimage is a time to move out of our comfort zone and visit distant places or new cultures that help us see our life and work from new perspectives. Pilgrimage is a time of Sabbath, it is a time of renewal. It can be sacred space.

During the pandemic, travel has been difficult and unsafe. We have curbed our various trips. As COVID subsides, these will eventually restart.

While the world is filled with limitless possibilities for pilgrimage, here are five pilgrimages that we encourage our Gulf Coast leaders to consider. Those form other synods are of course welcome too. These pilgrimages take more time and finances than a typical continuing education event, or a vacation, but they are worth saving up some of your continuing education funds over a period of years to participate. In some cases scholarships are available. Consider one of these for a sabbatical.

Holy Land

We spend our lives hearing stories of the Israelites, and stories about Jesus in Galilee and Judea. Pastors and deacons preach about these stories throughout their careers. Visiting helps us to see and hear these stories in new ways. Pastor Beth Warpmaeker did her internship at Lutheran church of the Redeemer in the old city of Jerusalem. She leads trips that will be more than a travelog, but also an engagement with the church in Palestine. beth@warpmaeker.org.

In Search of Paul

ISOP is back on for 2022. Paul wrote to churches in what is now Turkey and Greece. To understand the context more fully, join in on this annual spring pilgrimage led by Pastor Don Carlson: donmcarlson@gmail.com. https://waytolead.org/in-search-of-paul-2022/


The 16th century reformation was sparked when Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg. Every few years we have a pilgrimage to Wittenberg, Eisleben, Erfurt, Eisenach, Leipzig, the Wartburg castle and more. Our 2020 trip got cancelled, but soon we will schedule the next one. To see a sample itinerary, check out the link here: https://bishopmike.com/reformation-tour-2020/ Contact Bishop Mike for more information. bishop@gulfcoastsynod.org


One of our companion synods is the Lutheran Church in Peru. Normally, we take at least one annual pilgrimage to Lima and Cuzco to visit churches and learn the culture. Contact Bishop Mike. bishop@gulfcoastsynod.org


Pastor Jim Giannantonio of Christ the Servant in Houston has been leading a January pilgrimage to Rome for decades. This trip spends much time walking beneath the city to understand the early church. Contact Pastor Jim at prjim@christtheservant.net.