Facets of Faith for June 25, 2011

Religion can be a part of vacation in many ways.

Some people use vacation to do mission or service trips.

Today’s page shows some Louisiana day trips that include Eastern religions.

My husband and I have taken many trips where religion played a role. Consider some of these:

Large meetings

• Attend a state, national or international event. Denominations and para-church groups often hold meetings in the summer or during holidays to allow more people to attend.

My husband and I have attended the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship meetings in June as part of our travels.

• Attend a religious music festival or workshop. These include one-day or longer events. We’ve built trips around handbell events.

• Find out if your favorite musicians will be in the area you are visiting. We saw Chris Tomlin in England and Sara Groves and NeedToBreathe in Houston on already planned vacations. Amusement parks, including Disney, and baseball teams hold Christian music nights.

Smaller settings

• Take a retreat. Options abound. Your church could plan one or you can find a retreat center that holds planned group retreats. Some centers are open for individual retreats. These can be guided by staff there or planned by yourself.

• Visit the headquarters or other site from your favorite charity. Heifer International is based in Arkansas and has sites in other states. The headquarters, in Little Rock near the Bill Clinton Presidential Library, has museum exhibits. The Heifer Ranch, in Perryville, Ark., has animals that represent the ones used around the world. Spend a day or participate in one of its multiday events.

Habitat for Humanity has the Global Village and Discovery Center, in Americus, Ga. This allows visitors to see life-size Habitat houses from many countries.

Historical ties

• Visit historic churches and sites. Many have services. Find ones that are important to your religious background or visit one for the historical significance.

Places we have visited: A synagogue in Charleston, S.C., one of the oldest in the United States; St. Martin de Tours in St. Martinville, one of the oldest in Louisiana; and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., the site of the bombing that killed four girls during the Civil Rights movement.

We have attended services at Tilehouse Road Baptist Church in Hitchin, England, one of the oldest existing Baptist congregations, and at St. Michael’s and All Saints Church in Pitchford, England, which was founded by my ancestors in the 1600s.

‘Just’ church

And there’s always going to church. This may let you experience worship in a different style or setting.

Contact Leila Pitchford-English at lenglish@theadvocate.com.