By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
How far would you go to make your point? Across the room? Out the door? Down the block?
How about walking to Nashville, Tennessee?
Reverend Daniel Chapin, 38, of Garden Grove would go that far. And he is.
Today, he will begin the first steps of his sojourn from Phoenix, Arizona to Nashville, Tennesee. The distance is about 1,650 miles and he estimates that it will take around four months.
But the distance is not the point. The time is not the point. The point he is trying to make is that the distance between people has gotten too great, that communities, specifically the Christian church communities have put a broad gap between themselves and called that gap a distance between a parish.
“There are as many as 52,000 different denominations that are all claiming to beliefs. But there is so much separation between these groups and the people in them,” said Chapin.
“I’ve seen it in my own churches . . . there are individuals getting disenfranchised. There are an increasing number of teens who are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They’re losing faith in their spirituality, in their community and even in their selves.”
Because of this, Chapin wants to make a statement, a call out if you will, to communities to reach out to one another not just in their churches but to people all around them.
He said that the church itself has, in too many cases, become the religion and that people have forgotten that the support of the community helps its people.
Chapin said that this walk is a message to those churches to take the moment to bridge the gap of differences and to look at what they have in common.
Chapin has served as a youth pastor at Calvary Chapel and is the founder of two groups, Always & Forever- Southern California Weddings where he is the head, a couples counselor and performs ceremonies.
His other group, The International Coalition of Youth for Christ, is a youth organization dedicated to outreach ministry. One of their projects is to write and perform dramatic scripts that they take to youth in conflict.
Chapin thought about this journey for nine months, something that he says has his family somewhat divided.
Some family and friends support him, he said, they think he’s crazy, but they support him.
Others, he said, just think he’s crazy and don’t see why he would want to give up his home and life to go on a long walk.
This long walk though, is going to be Chapin’s personal ministry to himself that he is going to share with others. During his trip and with his stays in homes and communities he will be talking with people and recording what he finds, who he meets and what happens to him on the road.
Some churches have even booked him along the route to stop in and speak with their congregations. Even though people are making donations of support for his walk, all the money raised from this will go directly to charities that Chapin supports.
He won’t have to comfort of staying hotels or motels unless it is an emergency. He will counting on the kindness of churches and people to help him find a place for the night.
And he realizes he may have to do a bit of camping.
“I’ve got a tent and provisions to camp with when I need to,” said Chapin.
He has talked with other people who have made trips like this and with their supporters to gain knowledge of what to bring, what to look out for and how to prepare for a variety of incidents.
If there are losses of equipment, shoes or clothing he will have his personal finances to help him out and he will take care of what is needed when he needs it.
He will also be providing day to day updates on Twitter and Facebook to keep press and supporters abreast of what he is doing.
It’s going to be a long walk, with undoubted shoe changes, sore legs, tired feet and many discarded socks.
“I’m hoping it’s going to send a message, to focus on the cause and to take the risk. It’s not about me, it’s about the people,” said Chapin.