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A swift pilgrimage to Bath and Wells

A group of pilgrims from Ampfield and North Baddesley took a day out of the normal pattern of life to travel to Bath and then on to Wells Cathedral.

 

Andrew Ashdown led twelve people from our churches on a one day pilgrimage. The group travelled west to Bath and then on to the Cathedral at Wells. Travelling on pilgrimage has grown to be an important part of Christian tradition. Short journeys of one or two days are a low risk way of starting a pilgrimage habit. Going on pilgrimage can be a great way to grow in relationship with God.

It was lovely… the main thing for me was Wells cathedral. When you walk in it it looks like a big empty space but it was awe inspiring and beautiful. There was a guest choir there and they were rehearsing for Evensong. The music and the singing was just beautiful and uplifting. — Yvonne Oliver

Medieval Europe was criss crossed by pilgrim trails. Indeed the idea of pilgrimage has left a deep trace in the culture of the continent. At its best the act of journeying became a mirror for the soul searching for the love of God. The renewed interest in the Santiago pilgrimage is allowing a new generation to experience the experience afresh. How we as local churches can respond well to this trend is an important question.

Being a pilgrim is open to everyone. It is about growing into a fuller relation with God. The act of going on a journey which makes the pilgrim vulnerable is one way of doing this. Solo pilgrimage can be both powerful and painful. A pilgrim guide can sometimes make the journey more fruitful. Revd Andrew has led many pilgrimages. He puts it like this:

Pilgrimage gives us the opportunity to take time out from busy lives, to enjoy fellowship together and get to know each other better, to be reminded of the journey of faith of others, and our place in the wider Christian story. It reminds us that our lives are a journey which involves a conscious movement and commitment on our part, which is enriched by others and by the Christian story and witness of others through the ages. Andrew Ashdown, Associate Priest @acnbchuch and doctoral student at the University of Winchester.

Going on a journey to a holy place is a common way of describing a pilgrimage. In the church pilgrimage has a richer meaning too. One element is that of a tangible connection with our brothers and sisters across the world. Don Beaman who joined this pilgrimage said ‘It is important to keep abreast of what is going on outside our own parish church’. The change in our lives brought about by discipleship has often been spoken of as a pilgrimage. This is true too of the winding paths through the mind and soul made by the medieval mystics. The Interior Castle by Theresa of Avila is an example of this sort of journey within the soul.


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