Have you ever stood beside a body of water and felt a connection to God, creation, and to the wider world? Water is a key symbol in faiths around the globe and an essential component to all life. People all across the world are rediscovering our vital connection to water as part of a Creation for which we must actively care and advocate.

On Sunday, April 17, kick off Lutheran Day and prepare for Earth Day with an interfaith blessing of the waters on the Banks of the Susquehanna. water bubbles in blue We will learn together, worship together with songs from around the globe, and offer a blessing with an interfaith voice. We will step outside of our busy lives and re-connect with this elemental component of life and faith, as a preparation for speaking together for the sake of Creation and the neighbors with whom we share it.

As a prelude, you can connect more closely with the water on a canoe trip guided by Cindy Dunn, Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. She and other naturalists will help us explore the river’s ecosystem and the history of our relationship with the Susquehanna. For those who prefer to stay on land, a hike guided by naturalists will also be offered.

The interfaith blessing will take place at 5:15 p.m., at the riverfront plaza at the intersection of State and Front streets in Harrisburg, just two blocks from the front steps of the Capitol.  It will be followed, at 6 p.m., by a community meal in the Capitol rotunda plus inspiring music and presentation by ELCA Glocal musicians. (The meal, sponsored by ELCA Global Mission, is free, but registration is required.  Reservations are limited.) The day will be capped with a presentation by Penn State climate scientist Dr. Raymond Najjar Jr., who will share what people of faith in Pennsylvania can do to combat climate change affecting our brothers and sisters here and around the globe.  Learn more.

Guided Hike — A hike guided by naturalists is being planned. If interested, email Tracey@lutheranadvocacypa.org for exact time and location and include HIKE in the subject line.

Guided Canoe Trip — 1:30-4:30 p.m. 

Kayaking Luther 2015-09-27 18.16.58

Paddlers will meet on Harrisburg’s City Island at 1:30. More information will be sent to registrants by email. 
Make reservations by contacting Susquehanna Outfitters at 717-503-0066 or their website

The cost is $30/per person, which includes a seat in a canoe, lifejacket, paddle, shuttle to and from the site and an exciting safety talk/introduction to paddling techniques.  If you want to bring your own canoe, the cost is $20 for the shuttle (and exciting safety talk).  Cancellations made up to 2 weeks prior to trip will not be charged. Cancellation made less than 2 weeks before trip will be charged in full. There will be no charge if the paddle is canceled because of weather or water conditions. 

All participants must sign a liability waiver. Waivers are available to download on the outfitter’s website.

Lutheran Camping Corporation’s Camp Kirchenwald will also be organizing a group for the tour. If interested, please contact Kirchenwald at 717-964-3121 or visit their website at www.lutherancamping.org.

Interested participants should note that water and air temperatures can be unpredictable and cold in April. It is recommended that participants have some paddling experience. Those who register will receive information about how to dress and what to bring. Participation is limited, so make reservations early.

The paddle may be moved to Conodoguinet Creek if conditions warrant.

PLEASE NOTE: Arrangements and safety are between the paddler and outfitter. Neither Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania nor the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are liable for any contracts or mishaps. Information regarding the paddle is provided as a courtesy to those who would like to participate in the day’s events.