Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Choosing the Way of Pilgrimage

by Lifelong Learning Staff

 “The object of pilgrimage is not rest and recreation--to get away from it all,” remarks Huston Smith, professor of Religious Studies at University of California at Berkley.[1]  Rather, Smith continues, “To set out on a pilgrimage is to throw down a challenge to everyday life.”

“Pilgrimage is the kind of journeying that marks the move from mindless to mindful, soulless to soulful travel.[2] In our faith journey we can choose to be a tourist or a pilgrim. We can travel through life not fully engaged or fully present, merely snapping pictures of holy sites and holy people along the way OR we can intentionally seek the holy within and around us, in every aspect of our daily lives. Pilgrimage transforms our sacred imagination, giving us new eyes and ears with which to experience the holy in the ordinary.

The Certificate in Spiritual Formation (CSF) is for pilgrim people -- people in the pulpit, people in the pew, people in all denominations and all stages of life, people who hunger and thirst to experience God in deeper and more intimate ways. The CSF offers pilgrims an exploration of community-grounded Christian spirituality rooted in scripture, theology, a history of the tradition, reading in the spiritual classics, prayer and meditation, and in skills for assisting others on a spiritual journey.

By journeying through the certificate program, you will gain a broad understanding of the Christian spiritual tradition and various practices that have emerged from it. You will learn these spiritual practices experientially, and at the same time, you will develop skills for helping others in their spiritual growth. As Columbia professors and other carefully selected, experienced teachers guide you through structured study, you will discover the relationship in Christian spirituality between compassion, justice, and effective ministry.

Part of being a pilgrim is being vulnerable, being willing to lose yourself, so that you can truly find yourself grounded and centered in the Divine. The Certificate in Spiritual Formation offers you a safe space for such sacred exploration. The path is open to all. Come journey with us and practice living the way of pilgrimage.

For more information on the Certificate in Spiritual Formation click here or contact Deedra Rich, associate director of spirituality and lifelong learning, or 404-687-4557.

[1] Phil Cousineau, The Art of Piligrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred  (Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 1998).

[2] Ibid., xxiii.