Guests take Holy Hike to see Cahaba Lily

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

HELENA – Participating in the Holy Hikes ministry program, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church led a group of guests to see the Cahaba Lily during one of their services on June 5.

The hike saw nearly 40 guests get out on National Trails Day to see Helena’s iconic Cahaba Lily and also receive spiritual lessons along the way.

The Holy Hikes are a program originally chartered by churches in the San Francisco Bay Area that eventually spread out through many churches in the country. The purpose that they serve for the churches is to provide an opportunity for members of the church and the community to come together in an untraditional setting to connect more with nature and their faith.

St. Stephen’s Allen Howell said that the church chartered their own Holy Hikes program as a way for people to find a closer relationship to God.

“One of the reasons for starting this is that there are people who find a closer relationship with God in nature than they do sitting in their seats in a church. The hike allows us to knock down those walls,” Howell explained.

The particular site was chosen because of its incredible views along the river. It was not too far away that it was still accessible for most people to attend, while being quiet and secluded enough for guests to truly embrace the bounty of nature laid out before them.

“The most stunning aspect of this location is that you can walk around and see this gorgeous native plant that is hard to find anywhere else,” Howell said. “Some people go just to be outside and look at plants or animals as well. This does not replace brick and mortar Sunday service, but it does provide another avenue or opportunity to get those same lessons.”

Those lessons are given throughout the hike. The group will stop and participate in things like meditation, a Eucharist and other lessons incorporated into the hike by the scenery that stretches out around everyone.

The hike appeared to accomplish its purpose as the guests were able to get exercise, commune with others, see the beautiful Cahaba Lily and connect with God in an unconventional setting.

While the hikes are monthly, there is not an event scheduled for July. However, the organization plans to announce more soon starting in August.

More information about the program and upcoming events can be found through the Holy Hikes Birmingham Facebook page.