Heartbeat Pilgrimage Initiative

IMG_8579 - Version 2Over the past few decades John Philip and Ali Newell have carefully developed a model for pilgrimage which creates a dynamic environment for people to be transformed and healed. Harnessing centuries old spiritual practices from various wisdom traditions and distilling them into a week-long pilgrimage experience has been a hallmark of their ministry.

The impact is unmistakable: lives are changed forever.

The ancient practice of Pilgrimage is nothing new in the Christian Household, but a reawakening to its liminal qualities seems to be taking shape. In a world filled with the distractions of technology, horrific headlines of war and earth’s degradation, the process of leaving behind one’s comfort in search of meaning, solitude, spiritual connection, and guidance now feels more relevant than ever.  The path is clear-we must increase our awareness, empathy, compassion, and focus our energy for action. The practice of Pilgrimage can be a galvanizing event for a person intent on engaging injustice and joining a force for peace.

At Heartbeat, our finger is on the pulse of this re-awakening, and we are ready to respond.IMG_8545 - Version 2

The Heartbeat Pilgrimage Initiative

We are collaborating with interfaith leaders, activists, and educators to develop a program to train and support an entire generation of Pilgrimage Facilitators. We will be taking the model developed by John Philip and Ali Newell and offering it to qualified leaders who can then organize and facilitate Heartbeat pilgrimage events.

“We will be taking the pilgrimage model developed by John Philip and Ali Newell and offering it to qualified leaders who can then organize and facilitate Heartbeat pilgrimage events.”

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Fayaz teaching about Islam in during the 2014 Camino Peace Pilgrimage

Many of us know the impact of our journey to places like the Isle of Iona or walking the Camino de Santiago. Imagine now trained Heartbeat Pilgrimage Facilitators offering pilgrimage experiences anywhere in the world. By strategically making use of specific locations for pilgrimage, there is unique potential for these offerings to raise critical awareness and inspire– all the while equipping participants by teaching the spiritual practices necessary to sustain a life of engagement and action.

Heartbeat will also serve as a resource to these trained facilitators, offering spiritual support, a network for recruiting participants, and a base for staying connected and dreaming our way forward.

Qualified candidates selected for the Pilgrimage Initiative will learn skills to fine-tune their ability to lead prayer experiences, facilitate group dialogue, and manage the over all pilgrimage experience; including planning, navigation, and follow up.

Phase 1 of the Pilgrimage Initiative depends on three important components:

  1. Heartbeat Executive Director Ben Lindwall and 2014 Camino Peace Pilgrimage participant Fayaz Alibhai of Edinburgh, UK will lead a second interfaith pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago next year. They will use the experience to form an outline for the necessary materials for training new pilgrimage facilitators.
  2. John Philip Newell, Ali Newell, and Ben Lindwall will host a closed pilot group for the first Pilgrimage Facilitator Training in Santa Fe, New Mexico in July 2015. Additional opportunities will be available to a wider audience after this initial development phase.
  3. Your prayers and support will be necessary to make this plan a reality.

The Heartbeat Pilgrimage Initiative is an incredible opportunity to share the ministry of John Philip and Ali Newell with more people than ever before. It is a program that can serve people for generations to come. Young people are especially interested in experiential opportunities to connect with their spiritual lives. There is so much more to all of this than simply walking!

Will you join this journey?

This is the greatest task we have ever undertaken as an organization, and we need you to help take us to the next level. To make this dream a reality, we need to raise $75,000 for our Annual Fund by the end of 2014. We want to make this program accessible to anyone who is qualified, regardless of his or her financial capability. We can only do this with your help.

Please consider increasing your gift to Heartbeat this year, or making a second donation towards our vision for the Pilgrimage Initiative. Nearly 100% of Heartbeat’s funding comes from individual donations, an incredible testament to our grassroots network of support. But this also means that we depend on your generosity to move the Pilgrimage Initiative forward. Will you make a donation towards this effort today?








Checks can be made out to Heartbeat and sent to:

P.O. Box 11853
Minneapolis, MN 55411 

Heartbeat: A Journey Towards Earth’s Wellbeing is a 501(c)3 organization eligible to receive tax deductible donations.