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St Thomas' Episcopal Church
307 Route 94 * Vernon, NJ 07462 * 973-764-7506
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St Thomas Hiker Hostel was featured in a Diocesan "Mission Minute."
The Hiker Hostel is CLOSED for the season.
Vernon is a lovely country town in the eastern corner of Sussex County, NJ. Its unusual geography includes mountains on 3 sides of the 68 square mile town. The flat valley is part of the Warwick Valley reaching into New York state. The Appalachian Trail winds through those wooded mountains and even through the protected wetlands and farms in the valley. Over 2700 hikers a year make the journey from Georgia to Maine. God whispered,
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers...
So, as we planned our new church building, we considered the ministries on which we wished to focus. We had hikers among us... day hikers, section hikers and even a through hiker (who actually came to stay after visiting while on her hike!). The idea of the Hiker Hostel was born.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
Our Hiker Hostel opened for the Hiking season in 1998. An area of our Community Room is set up for trail weary guests. We offer hot showers and a laundry room to clean clothes. We have several stores and restaurants close by, and some parishioners will drop off a big ole' batch of food for whoever chooses to partake! It is a place where pilgrims can shower, eat, do laundry, email home, resupply, and sleep safely. Many hikers are sick or injured on arrival; we ferry them back and forth to medical care, and give them asylum to heal. We provided shelter for 394 hikers last year. Hiker feedback reminds us that this ministry is not mere hospitality, but in the best scriptural tradition, is life giving-- and life saving-- at its most basic. We have found that every hiker is on a spiritual journey, and we are honored to listen to the many stories that make up God's story. And so many hikers have sent us pictures and cards from their travel. These treasures are posted on our Hiker Bulletin board for all to enjoy.
And always, hikers are invited to Sunday services and to our fellowship time following.
If you are planning on a thru hike, or a section hike, remember our hostel. We would be pleased to offer you respite from the trail. For more information please email our hiker hostel team: email@example.com