“Pilgrimage” is a hugely useful concept for looking at and exploring our Christian life.
In one of my previous churches, St. George’s in Newbury, we used to have walking pilgrimages which (though they could be quite arduous – I soon learnt the wisdom of doing the catering rather than the walking bit!) hugely helped build up a real sense of camaraderie and purpose within our community, a sense of belonging and achievement. The longest pilgrimage was from Newbury to Canterbury which we did over a number of years in week long chunks – via Winchester, Chichester, Brighton and Eastbourne, finally ending a on Sunday morning with a welcome into Canterbury Cathedral from Archbishop Rowan himself. An occasion I’ll never forget.
The Church of God is a Pilgrim People on the move; we journey on together, as individuals and communities, moving on towards our Goal, which is God’s Kingdom, both as it is glimpsed in this world and as it will be seen in its entirety in the next.
For Isfield we have a very significant staging post on our journey, with the coming of Fr. Mike Blanch into our Pilgrims’ band. He will be licensed at St. Margaret’s by Bishop Richard on 16th September at 7.00 p.m. as Associate Vicar and this will be a new chapter of our pilgrimage story . He has exciting plans for themed services, Messy Church and Bible studies, and we look forward to him and Penny joining us at St. Margaret’s and in the wider Plurality. They are hugely welcome.
Also, thinking of Pilgrimage, on the day before there is the Archdeaconry Pilgrimage to Chichester Cathedral on Saturday, 15th September, led by Bishop Richard. Part of the Diocesan Year of Prayer, the main focus will be a Eucharist service at 3 p.m. followed by a “bring and share” tea. See later in “the Link” for further information. I’m certainly going – I hope to see others from our Parishes there too!!
Journeying, sharing, arriving. Endings and new beginnings. All this is part of the movement of God’s love in our world, how the Holy Spirit leads us, encourages us and challenges us to grow.
Love, Fr. John