At the end of a rutted dirt road near the small town of Ripton in Addison County, Vermont, on the western slopes of the Green Mountains, a labyrinth of footpaths weaves between the trees and alongside the streams within peaceful and unspoiled woodland. Each path is dedicated to one of the world's religions or spiritualities, and has texts along the way to help the walker connect between the sacred and the natural world. The mission of these Spirit in Nature Interfaith Paths is to provide 'a place of interconnecting paths where people of diverse spiritual traditions may walk, worship, meet, meditate, and promote education and action toward better stewardship of this sacred earth.' There is a sacred circle where the paths all meet, emphasizing the interconnections between the different religions, and between man and his environment.
I think that is such a lovely idea. It is such a lovely metaphor for the common ground that can be found in all the great religions and philosophies - and perhaps even the same Truth that we all seek? There are other similar pathways at a few other sites in the USA but it's a wonderful idea that could be copied across the world.
I found the details of this project amongst many other interfaith initiatives on the website of The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, a brilliant place for browsing for environmental stories linked with faith. The Forum is one of the largest international multireligious projects of its kind and serves to broaden the understanding of the many complex issues involved in today's environmental concerns within a religious and multidisciplinary context that Yale can most effectively provide.
The photos by the way are of the very lovely Dartington Hall gardens near Totnes in Devon
My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.
"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden