Exodus and Self-Discovery: The Journey Back to Faith on the Appalachian Trail

Fri Noon | Landing

Caitlin Allyn White

As a young, queer, female United Methodist, I lost my faith in my own tradition amid denominational conflict about LGBTQ inclusion. Therefore, after graduating seminary, I paused my ordination process to go for a hike. Years later, I was a few days into my thru hike of the Appalachian Trail when the Pulse massacre occurred. Heartbroken and wrecked by the hypocrisy I witnessed in my denomination, I penned an open letter leaving the ordination process of the church I believed was complicit in the hate and violence of Pulse and so much other pain. Yet, I did not send it. Instead, my journey became one of walking back to faith, cultivating the conviction to act rather than retreat, and finding a commitment to ministry without fear of compromise. Mine is a story about the healing power of nature and community. It is a story about the way that my journey shapes my work as a pastor, community organizer, campus minister, and spiritual innovator, and how it is shaping the Methodist movement I refuse to abandon.

Caitlin White

The Director of Connection and Formation at Collective Church, a misfit faith community in DeLand, FL, and Director of the Wesley Foundation at Stetson University, Caitlin is a progressive, young woman raised in the Deep South who has a complicated relationship with Christianity. She enjoys her work with people on the thresholds of faith, LGBTQ communities, in interfaith community organizing, and in building intergenerational relationships in the church. She is passionate about outdoor recreation and conservation.
www.wearecollectivechurch.com and www.stetsonwesley.com

245 The Journey Back to Faith on the Appalachian Trail

Session #245