Breaking on thedailytimes.com news site, the first ever First Methodist Chaplain to hit the trail on a mission to bring religion and spirituality to trail hikers from Georgia to Maine. According to the church's Facebook page, he is called the Appalachian Trail Chaplain. His mission is to hike the entire AT starting in April of 2013 and bring hope, religion and spiritual assistance to all he meets along his hike. For the first week of the chaplain's hike there will be two people, a pastor and the chaplain. After that, he plans to thru hike the AT within 6 months and spread God's love all along the trail in this time frame. The church states that they have been there for the hikers for some time already providing hot meals and trail angel assistance to some 1000 hikers.
They have also been seen at the largest gathering of trail hikers in the US, Trail Days, which takes place every May in Damascus, VA. The church says that for some time now the pastor has been dreaming of a way of reaching the hikers on a deeper, more direct way and the Trail Chaplain is the answer to his dream. The chaplain volunteer that stepped up is not new to the trail or hiking though. He and his wife have hiked portions of the trail as well as other trails and loves the outdoors as any hiker does. The church is responsible for coming up with the chaplain's expense monies and they are on a mission to raise $11,500 for the chaplain's trip. That amount they state in the news article is needed for the chaplain's training, gear, food and other expenses.
Talk about a comfortable trip! If Appalachian Trail hikers had that much money to spend on their trip, which most do not, there would be so many more successful thru hikes each year. The chaplain is not ordained but has been through theology training. According to thedailytimes.com, "The chaplaincy venture is backed by Holston Conference, the parent regional body for 897 United Methodist churches whose central office is located in Alcoa. Lindamood, a landscaper from Lynchburg, Va., has already received chaplaincy training and will soon receive “wilderness medical training” so he can be prepared to help others before shouldering his backpack through 14 states and a variety of weather conditions.
The roving chaplain for the church will be, Josh Lindamood, a 26-year-old preacher’s son. He is scheduled to take the life-altering challenge himself, beginning at Springer Mountain, Georgia and finishing at Mount Katahdin, Baxster State Park in Maine. So what do you think of this idea of a roving trail chaplain for the United Methodist church? Would you want to be approached by a religious chaplain while on your AT hike? According to the church they are very hiker friendly and have helped many hikers with food and rides back and forth from the trail and town in Virginia.