The pilgrimage, “River of Life,” which began May 31 in northern New Hampshire and is scheduled to end July 9 on Long Island Sound, is being described as the first of its kind along the Connecticut.
It has been coordinated by Kairos Earth in conjunction with other sponsors – the Episcopal dioceses of New England, and the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Designed to highlight the sacredness of nature and conservation efforts to protect it, each week of the five of the river journey has been themed spiritually.
The current week between Brattleboro, Vt. and Springfield, is “Drinking from our Divine Source.”
The concluding week, from Springfield to Long Island Sound, is themed “Transformation and Resurrection.
Supporting partners include The Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge is comprised of more than 36,000 acres within the 7.2-million-acre Connecticut River watershed. It was established in 1997 to protect and conserve native plant, fish and wildlife species and the ecosystems on which they depend.
The drainage basin areas of the river include the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Western Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Douglas Fisher, along with his son Geoff, are expected to join the pilgrims today at Turners Falls, and to paddle as far as Hartford.
The bishop made a 170-mile walking tour of his diocese during 2014.
Pilgrims, who will also stop in Hatfield, Northampton, South Hadley and Holyoke, are being hosted by members of Episcopal parishes during their paddling segment through the Pioneer Valley.
There is an accompanying book of prayers that can be downloaded by anyone wishing to be a “prayer” rather than a travel pilgrim on the journey.
Other related area events include:
“Reconnecting the Connecticut: A Story of New England’s Great River,” a talk by Kim Lutz, director of the Connecticut River Program of the Nature Conservancy who holds a degree in biology, today at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 48 Elms St., Northampton.
Ecumenical morning prayer Saturday at 8:30 at Berchulski Fisherman Access Point, Syrek Street, Holyoke. The prayer is being led by members of South Hadley’s All Saints’ Episcopal Parish, with a focus on the impact of industry on the river and the employment that brought a diverse population to the Valley.