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Natural SaintsHow People of Faith are Working to Save God's Earth$
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Mallory McDuff

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379570.001.0001

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Making a Pilgrimage

Making a Pilgrimage

Mountaintop Removal, Water, and Wildflowers

(p.123) 6 Making a Pilgrimage
Natural Saints

Mallory McDuff (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Religious traditions are rich with stories of pilgrimage, a journey for spiritual enrichment that involves travel to a place of meaning. This chapter reveals how people of faith made a pilgrimage to eastern Kentucky to experience firsthand the devastating impacts of mountaintop removal on God’s land and the people of Appalachia. The journey described in this chapter involved twelve interfaith pilgrims in an encounter with mountaintop removal that included flying over the mountains, hiking on mining sites, praying with local ministers, and scattering wildflower seeds on mined earth. This chapter highlights the work of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, which helped coordinate the experience. The spiritual journey revealed lessons for other faith communities: connecting pilgrimages to sacred places, working with local organizations, creating an immersion experience, using prayer as a grounding force, hearing testimonies of faith, and reflecting on feelings and actions.

Keywords:   Appalachia, coal mining, Hindman Settlement School, Interfaith Power and Light, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, mountaintop removal, pilgrimage

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