The DYM Youth Pilgrimage included Eucharist with Dean Peter Elliott when youth arrived at Christ Church Cathedral

If you had cause to be wandering past Christ Church Cathedral at 6.45am on Sunday March 2; you might have wondered why you could hear the sound of Amazing Grace being played on the bagpipes... This wake-up-call-to-end-all-wake-up-calls was one of the highlights of the Urban Pilgrimage organized by the Diocesan Youth Movement.

On March 1, a group of over 30 youth participants, volunteers and youth workers representing a dozen parishes gathered at St. James Church in Vancouver to begin a pilgrimage through the Downtown Eastside to Christ Church Cathedral. The walk had two aims: to engage in an ancient act of pilgrimage between places of worship in a contemporary setting, and to experience firsthand one of the most deprived urban areas in Canada. Fr. Matthew Johnson told us before giving us a parting blessing that our walk would put us in the position of community visitors, rather than tourists seeing sights.

That Pilgrimage was central to many of the activities and discussions for the evening, including a vibrant group discussion with Lutheran Urban Mission Society chairman Rolly French on ways in which Christians could make a difference to the Downtown Eastside in the run-up to the 2010 Olympics, to a frantic simulation game which put participants into the shoes of the hungry and homeless.

Registering for the youth pilgrimage. From all over the diocese, youth began their pilgrimage at St. James, Vancouver

The opportunity to gather together and worship was a big part of the success of the weekend. The Very Rev. Peter Elliott and Cathedral music director Rupert Lang led a Eucharist service upon our arrival at the Cathedral linking each participant's experiences from the Pilgrimage with Jesus' message of justice for the poor. As well as the aforementioned bagpipes, piano, organ, harp and guitar all contributed to worship which incorporated Latin chants with Taize and praise music.

On Sunday morning, we joined the Cathedral community for Eucharist; at which our leadership team's custom-made "Anglicans Have More Fun" T-shirts came in for much admiration! The Urban Pilgrimage, as well as being a great weekend event itself, is also the starting point for a new vision of Diocesan youth ministry which will see events like this helping youth and youth workers forge relationships and share experiences which will strengthen individual parish youth ministries.