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Spiritual trips allow you to explore synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches. With so many components to organize, a charter bus rental allows you to eliminate the need for carpools and gas money guesswork. Keeping your group centralized means you can focus on prayer, community-building, and icebreakers during the actual trip. Overall, spiritual trips can offer you a chance to reconnect with what matters the most — an opportunity to learn more about your spiritual roots, or time to serve others and build community.
An easy way to think about it? Consider the size of your group, the distance that you’re traveling, and whether you’ll be visiting multiple destinations. Larger groups, longer distances, and more destinations means you’ll probably want a coach bus. A smaller group with a shorter distance and only one destination can do fine with a school bus, mini coach, or minibus.
Mission trips are very common church group trips. Are you looking for a way to serve the communities around you? Often people think of mission groups involving distant countries. But if you stop to think about it, the communities that are closer to us are also often in deep need. Your mission trip might decide to serve at a local soup kitchen or a food bank. Other common locations to consider: nursing homes, daycares, and after-school programs.
Sunday School groups are generally filled with young children which can make for a boisterous time. A day trip can allow you to hone in on specific teachings you’ve been covering in class or to explore an important landmark or type of building (such as a monastery, temple, basilica). Most Sunday school groups consist of children and chaperones. When you’re all in one vehicle, it’s much simpler to ensure that nobody is left behind or has wandered off alone. A Sunday School trip can also mark special occasions, such as participation in stations of the cross or other devotional prayer.
When the majority of your time is in service of others, it’s important to remember to take time out of your schedule to connect with your peers and to recharge. Groups of clergy, whether you’re talking about religious communities or about colleagues who work together, can find it useful to take educational trips or to take retreats and pilgrimages together. Sharing time with those who understand your unique ministry challenges allows you to return to your congregations refreshed and renewed.
When you need time to recharge, retreats can present a much-needed respite from the day to day challenges that face us all. The opportunity to reflect on our lives, to break bread with others, to gather in prayer, is one that nourishes and rejuvenates. Retreats can occur in centers or in holy places and spiritual locations offer an anchor to the retreat time. When you retreat with a group, you get the benefit of connection with others while also having solo time in prayer and reflection. Traveling on a bus to a retreat location presents time for both individual or communal prayer.
The Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens offers an oasis in the middle of a very busy city, where admission is free with donations accepted. Its meditation gardens are filled with bamboo, fountains, flowers, and lush trees. There are sixteen fountains that you can sit near. The trickling water and the verdant plants allow for meditation, reflection, calm. If you’d rather move around, the labyrinth is there to provide you with a time-honored walking path. Many religions and spiritual communities have used labyrinths as a tool for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The grounds also include the historic Guasti Villa, which was built between 1910 and 1914 by Secundo Guasti. Since the 70s, the property has been owned and maintained by the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA). In 1990, it was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument.
Newsong Church is a non-denominational, multicultural church located near Westfield Culver City Mall. The church is especially known for its music and celebratory services. Newsong was first dreamt of in 1993. Newsong LA began in 2004, led by Adam Edgerly. In addition to worship services and youth groups, the church offers numerous ways to connect and participate: it hosts midweek bible study, weekly small groups, and Celebrate Recovery (focused on fellowship and freedom from addiction). On the campus you can also explore numerous Christian media in the library.
Nestled in the mountains of Los Angeles county, in the northern Puente Hills, Fo Guang Shan His Lai Temple is the North American headquarters for Fo Guang Shan, an international Chinese Buddhist order that focuses on Humanistic Buddhism. Hsi Lai Temple was built in the mid-80s as a spiritual and cultural center. The temple is located on a 15-acre property and is over 100,000 square feet large. If you visit, there is a self-guided audio tour as well as options for a larger tour group (with suggested donations). There are several shrines, gardens, and pagodas to pray in and visit. After you explore the temple, you might want to eat lunch at their famous Vegetarian Buffet.
Wilshire Boulevard Temple is among the oldest Jewish synagogues in Los Angeles, and its congregation is the oldest Jewish congregation in L.A. (est. 1862). The community has two locations: the Glazer campus in Wilshire Center/Koreatown, and the Irmas campus in West Los Angeles. The temple on Wilshire Blvd. was dedicated in 1929 — its domed structure was inspired by European cathedrals and in 1984 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The congregation is reform-centered and focuses on a blend of tradition, innovation, spirituality, and education. They offer many programs and events that are available to the larger community.
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