Priest makes Steamboat a stop on his 6 Million Steps for Kids journey
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Near the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass, the Rev. Peter Munson looked energized as he made his way along the seeming endless expanse of pavement marking a path he has been called to follow.
“It wasn’t audible words certainly,” Munson said Tuesday from Steamboat Springs where he was slated to speak to the public at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church that night. “What I heard was to walk across the country and to speak and to write as I go.”
That calling, which came more than 10 years ago, is the reason the 62-year-old Episcopalian priest has worked hard to overcome many hurdles, it’s the reason he is making the 3,600-mile journey from Charleston, South Carolina, to San Francisco, and it’s the reason he is asking people to donate to his nonprofit, 6 Million Steps for Kids.
Munson believes that if you are a person of faith, you are called. For him, that moment came more than 10 years ago as he was finishing a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.
“I came home, and I was all excited, because who else but God would take all the things that I really enjoyed — like preaching, walking, writing and put it all together,” Munson said. “My wife said, ‘That’s awesome,’ but she added that I should be aware that it might not just unfold the way I thought it would.”
His children were in high school, so the timing wasn’t right. He also got mixed reactions when he told his parish at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in South Boulder.
“It’s been sort of a leap of faith, because my health insurance for my family had been through the church, the church was paying into my pension and my congregation was divided on the idea,” Munson explained. “A third of the people thought that it was a great idea, a third of the people thought it was a terrible idea and the rest were undecided.
“But after all this time, I could still hear God saying “go do this” … I told my congregation I get that the most logical thing would be to work until 65, then retire and go do this, but we don’t have any guarantees,” Munsen said. “I’m in good health now, but you don’t know what’s going to happen down the road.”
So Munson, who has been a priest for 28 years, resigned as rector of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in February to set out on a journey where he would be forced to face his fears and where he would need the support of family, friends and those who have faith in him.
For more information or to donate, visit https://www.6millionstepsforkids.org/
Along the way, he has stopped to speak to other congregations.
“I am reminding people that we are all called by God to do something in the area of service and that benefits others or benefits the planet,” Munson said.
Munson wants people to listen and seek out their callings, which may not be as big as walking across the country but may be just as important.
“Your calling is probably not to walk across the country,” Munson said. “But if you listen, there is a calling and it doesn’t have to be big. The calling isn’t always the same thing. It may be small or medium or big.”
He also wants people to think about faith and not let fear stop them.
“Part of the definition of faith for me is that you don’t know what is going to happen,” Munson said. “You have to step out into the unknown otherwise it would be called a guarantee or a blueprint. We get a nudge from God, and then it’s journey of trust and faith.”
Munson began his journey March 4 in South Carolina, and over the past six months, has walked through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas. For the past few weeks, he has been in Colorado, hampered slightly by a blister on his toe that got infected.
He will be in Routt County the next couple of days before heading out on the final leg of his journey across Utah, Nevada and California.
But at the end of the day, a big reason he was called has to do with helping children.
“I had led mission trips over the years — first to a church in the Dominican Republic and then to a children’s home and school in El Salvador,” Munson said. “The common theme of where my life is connected is children, and I would like to raise money for children.”
The money he’s raising through 6 Million Steps for Kids is slated to be used to help build a children’s home and school in El Salvador and to support Street Fraternity, a mentoring program for 14- to 25-year-old males who come from refugee families. Other funds will benefit Episcopal Relief & Development and the Episcopal Church, which supports various children’s program in Colorado.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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