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Saunter has existed since the very beginning of Channel Missions, and its aim is to provide opportunities to spend intentional time in nature - helping us take a break from everyday life and return to our roots (so to speak). Some call it hiking, others see it as meditating and others even call it “tree-bathing” but sometimes it is simply putting one foot in front of the other as we wind our way along a trail to a waterfall.

As the scenery changes from the office (with its endless sea of emails and phone calls) to the flowers, squirrels and birds we encounter along the path, the grip of our perceived control within our lives begins to loosen and we find the space to simply exist as a small part of this magnificent creation.

It is a grounding experience for our bodies, centering to our minds, and in bringing balance to our lives it can become a great source of healing.

In 2023, along with numerous day trips we were also blessed to continue our annual tradition of spending 7-10 days hiking on the Appalachian Trail. This year’s journey began in Carvers Gap, Tennessee and ended in Damascus, Virginia. There is nothing quite like a jaunt in the woods and navigating another near-100 mile stretch of the world’s most famous long trail. It brings with it countless life lessons and the rewards only seem to multiply with every mile of the experience.

This year, as our team poured its energy into launching The Hiding Place program, Saunter and Reach seemingly faded into the background. However, as 2023 progressed, our team’s vision of bringing healing through each program of Channel Missions began to come into a clearer focus.

So, whether we Saunter for our own benefit, or we use a trip to serve Hiding Place survivors and staff, or we share an excursion with other service providers and clients in our network, these experiences will continue to connect, build and strengthen our community.

As we reflect on 2023 and our gratitude for every hill and valley, we cannot help but be filled with excitement and anticipation for what trails await us in 2024.




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Read more about Saunter
from Joe Looper, Channel Missions' Co-Founder and Co-Direcor

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