St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church

A Pilgrimage to Scotland—Exploring Celtic Spirituality

This fall I am going on six years serving in this parish. I will be taking a sabbatical leave for the months of August and September, returning in October. During this time of refreshment and renewal I will be on a pilgrimage, exploring Celtic spirituality and the rich musical heritage of Scotland, and especially the northern islands of the Orkneys and Shetlands.

While I am away the choir will be under the leadership of Andrew Butler. The Sunday English services will be accompanied by Tony Arico and Sandra Greenland. Our Spanish service will be led by Cantor Luis Melcon and the new ensemble led by Yodelvis Betancourt. The office will be managed by Katrina Davey, and our ever-faithful volunteer Patti Blanchette.


I will be posting regular vlogs of this pilgrimage—where I am going and what I am experiencing—and I am inviting the congregation to share the pilgrimage with me. You can follow my postings on the church web page, the church Facebook page, or my personal Facebook page.

Come with me and experience:

  • the Edinburgh Military Tatoo
  • worship at the Episcopal Cathedral of St Mary the Virgin,

and participating in the liturgical and parish life of local Episcopal congregations (the branch of the Anglican Communion in Scotland)

  • walking labyrinths, hiking wilderness, Scapa Flow, and exploring archeological sites from the Neolithic through Viking ages: Skara Brae, Maeshowe, the Standing Stones of Stenness, Jarlshof, and much more
  • the Orkney and Shetland Islands (it will be cold… it’s as far north as Greenland!)
  • Lindisfarne (or, the Holy Isle), home of St. Aidan and the stunning Lindisfarne Gospels
  • the sacred isle of Iona, where Christianity was introduced to Scotland by St. Columba
  • and Champing!


I have joined the Scottish Youth Hostel Association, and I’ll be staying mostly at hostels. Another emphasis of my pilgrimage will be writing instrumental and choral music. My final two weeks will be at Iona, where I will be participating in a workshop which I will just happen to share with Mary Gayle Vance and Mother Cynthia! Each week you will be able to follow my journey with a map in the church narthex showing where I am. Follow the map, and listen to the vlogs as I share the haunting music, the stunning beauty, and the profound spirituality of Scotland’s islands. It’s a journey we can share together.

The Reverence Dr. David Kerr Park,Pastoral Associate and Director of Music