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Port Lavaca pastor walks for church ministries

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
March 29, 2011 at 3:04 p.m.
Updated March 28, 2011 at 10:29 p.m.

Carl Westbrook, a pastor from Port Lavaca, walks along U.S. Highway 87 on Monday afternoon. Westbrook is walking to Weimar, hoping to complete his journey by Friday.

GUADALUPE - Departing in the early morning hours of Monday, Carl Westbrook set out on a five-day walk from Port Lavaca to Weimar, aiming to raise funds and awareness for two Methodist church camps he cares deeply about.

Carrying little more than a few bottles of water, Gu Chomps energy supplements and a walking stick with the Methodist cross and flame emblem carved at the handle, Westbrook tirelessly walked along U.S. Highway 87 waving at cars as they drove past him, honking.

"I wanted to draw attention to Cathedral Oaks Retreat Center and Mount Sequoyah Retreat and Conference Center in Fayetteville, Ark. for all the good ministry work they do," Westbrook said, explaining his mission.

The 69-year-old Westbrook, who serves as senior pastor at First United Methodist Church of Port Lavaca, embarked on the 90-mile journey Monday at 6:30 a.m. aiming to reach Victoria by that evening.

As of 3:30 p.m., he had made it to the Guadalupe community.

His plan is to walk for one week, ending the journey in Weimar at the Methodist Cathedral Oaks Retreat Center.

"When people stop me along the way, I'll tell them what I'm doing this for," Westbrook said. "(God) and I are having a really good time," out here.

Part of the walk includes a personal fundraising goal of $5,000, which the pastor said will be divided equally among the two organizations.

"These are two really neat ministries and I want to help them out however I can," he said. "I'm encouraging everyone to prayerfully consider donating a dollar amount close to my age."

Westbrook said he sits on the board of trustees for both Cathedral Oaks and Mount Sequoyah and enjoys their focus on spiritual formation and development programs for children, teens and adults.

"They're known as church camps, but they're so much more than that," he said.

Westbrook plans to stop in Victoria, Yoakum, and Hallettsville during the week, concluding the walk by Friday.

"At the latest, I should be done by Friday morning," he said. "I don't have a deadline; I'm on God's time."



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