Mount a top spot for Holy Communion

By James Smith

Tauranga is set for a blessing from high during a mini pilgrimage to the summit of Mauao this weekend.

Walkers will be able to take Holy Communion in traditional style with bread and wine during a short service held at the top of the Mount.

Prayers will be said for residents, businesses and for the city's continued prosperity. The unique event is open to anyone, including those who aren't regular church-goers. The walk is being organised by Tauranga's Holy Trinity Church.

Vicar Paul Williamson said of the thousands of people who walk to Mauao's summit each year, many find the experience invigorating and spiritually uplifting.

"When you are on a mountain it gives you a chance to see the big picture, you see the grandeur of God and his creation."

With people leading busy and often stressful lives, opportunities to take time out for exercise and quiet reflection are often overlooked and walking up a mountain can be good for the body and soul, Rev Williamson said.

"For many people it's just simply uplifting, to have that sense of the vista of the ocean and hills. It gives people a little bit of separation, of getting away from the rat race."

During Sunday's summit service, Holy Communion will be offered to those who wish to take part.

In the lead-up to the event, Rev Williamson will be collecting his thoughts for his Sermon on the Mount.

"We will be praying for God's blessing over the city. There is something significant about preaching from a high place."

The inspiration that can trigger a good sermon can happen any time, said Rev Williamson, who revealed that a grassroots approach is his key to success.

"My best sermons come when I'm mowing the lawns," he said.

"The brain's in neutral and you're thinking thoughts."

Meet outside the Mount hotpools on Sunday for a 2pm group departure to walk to the summit of Mauao. Holy Communion service at the summit will take place at 3pm.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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