The pilgrimage group arrives at historic Goree Island, Senegal, an infamous transit point for the trade in enslaved persons. From left: Naomi Welikala, Martha Watson (partially hidden), Troy Elder, the Rev. Jean Chavanne, Lou Duncan, Bruck Rankin, Kim Ericson, Margaret McCauley, and David Telleen-Lawton.

The pilgrimage group travels in a pirogue – the means of maritime transport to coastal islands in Guinea.

[The Episcopal News] Nine travelers from the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe’s American Cathedral in Paris recently returned from “Forced Migration in History,” an 11-day pilgrimage of study, travel, prayer and encounter in the West African Anglican Diocese of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

The travelers, representing St. John’s Cathedral, Los Angeles; St. George’s, Hawthorne; St. Stephen’s, Hollywood; St. George’s, Riverside; All Saints by-the-Sea, Santa Barbara; St. Mark’s, Van Nuys; IRIS (Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service) and the diocese’s Program Group on Global Partnership, were led by Troy Elder, IRIS’s executive director.

Deacon Margaret McCauley greets parishioners at All Saints Cathedral, Conakry, after being recognized by Archbishop Jacques Boston (center) of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

The purpose of the tour was to “pray, learn, interact with our African Anglican siblings, and discern future, sustained collaborations around themes of restoration, repentance for structural sin, and growth,” according to the tour announcement.

The group “came together for this important work at the confluence of mission, outreach, and solidarity in Senegal and in Guinea, one of the poorest countries worldwide,” Elder wrote on Facebook. “A propitious, reflective beginning to Lent, and a new chapter in our revived, seven-years-and-counting relationship with our Anglican partners in West Africa.”

As part of their extensive pre-pilgrimage preparation, the group studied Camara Laye’s The Dark Child, a classic West African memoir of migration, education, love, and loss.

Stops on the pilgrimage included All Saints School, Conakry, a kindergarten-through-high-school facility of special interest to several educators in the group; a house church in in Dakar, Senegal; and All Saints Cathedral, Conakry Guinée, where they were welcomed by the Rt. Rev. Jacques Boston, archbishop of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

— Reporting by Troy Elder