Monday, 31 May 2010

The new Sello for Peterborough Pilgrims

This is the new sello for the
Peterbros. If you would like
see what the changes are
look a bit further down this
blog and you will see the
old one. We have added
the Diocesian arms of
Peterborough Diocese
as we are now a diocesian
organisation. The first
since the reformation.
It is our hope that we
can be a force for
renewal in the church
in the UK and Europe.
Come and join us. Contact
is via my email

Friday, 21 May 2010

Great news

A few days ago, the new Bishop of Peterborough came to see me. This was in response to a paper I had produced about a change in the status of Peterborough Pilgrims to Santiago. Previously we had been one of those outfits that the diocese smiles upon but is not part of the diocesan structure. We are sort of answerable to the Bishop and semi detached at the same time. This was an interim measure until we got a bit bigger. Well that day has come. As a result of the paper and the meeting we are to receive a formal Charter and license. We will be fully integrated. The Bishop will be the President. And as the Archconfraternity has agreed to our existence as a associate member knowing that we Anglicans, we are now the first fully accredited ecclesiastical confraternity in the UK since the reformation. So on the 24 July 2010 we are to be formally started at the celebration of St James's day in the parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Northampton. This is open to all. If you can come you are most welcome! It is followed by a pilgrim feast. One of the objectives of our confraternity is to open, mark and walk the way~the Camino~ in the UK from the site of the former monestry of St James in Northampton to Portsmouth/ Southampton. After the pilgrim gathering on the 24 July some of us are going on that pilgrimage. It is open to all who wish to join. It is hoped that everyone who comes to the Mass and feast will walk with us to Blisworth our first stop. There is a bus that we take everyone home to St Mary's So join us for all or part of that gig.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

This must stop.

In recent weeks I have been working to
establish a small Confraternity of St James.
I say in recent weeks, the truth is that I
have been working for 5 years on this project.
It has not been easy. I have not taken the
easy route and tagged along with the
other fraternities, because of a vision of
something rather different at the end of
the road from what is on offer at the moment.
I have seen the posts about 'what is a true
pilgrim.' Dressed in all its finery of pride
of walking to Santiago rather than going on the bus... or train....or even plane. I have walked to Santiago many, many times from all different directions.
I have met some wonderful people on the way and made lasting friendship
with some of them. And now as the fraternity is to emerge into the full
light of day I have been challenged from every direction, by those
who want to preserve the existing scheme of things. We are not a proper
fraternity. We shouldn't be doing what we are doing and the implied correction
that whatever it is that we are up to it should be through the existing
organisation. By this I am not talking about the Archdiocese or the
Archconfraternity. Things are fine with them. We are accepted for
what we are . But I am speaking of others who are worried that we
might spoil their game by being different. The fraternity called
Peterborough Pilgrims to Santiago is unashamedly Christian and more than
that we are Anglican. This is an Episcopally backed outfit. Our Bishop is our
President! I am an Anglican priest. I am exercising my Anglican
ministry. Within that Anglican heritage is a history of nearly 1500 years
when we were organically joined at the hip to the western patriarch called
the Pope and the church which he leads, the Roman Catholics. But I am
also a catholic,not Roman Catholic, it becomes a little difficult to see what
lies in the future in Church unity. For many of us there is a deep
feeling that one day we will go home and the family spat will be over.
Be that as it may. Within the common heritage of 1500 years there
is the whole emergence of the cult of St James and Santiago pilgrimage.
It is part of my Spiritual DNA. It maybe that the Roman catholic Church
holds Santiago in trust, but they hold it for all Christians.
On my first pilgrimage the one thing that hit me in the face was that
for those who had little faith and even those who had much faith
there was little done to interpret the experience as it was happening
to those who had only a little basic Spanish. This was the need that
drew me into becoming a pilgrim Anam Cara. As time has gone on there
have been other needs that I have discovered. Not least of all that
every country in Europe has a direct link with the Camino, but the
UK still has not reopened the historic route from the midlands via
Reading to the south coast ports. Even though we still have the Saints
forearm in a Church in Marlow we have not reopened the way.
And so I went to work. Now there are many who will want ask and
even demand that 'there be room for those who want to walk a
celtic/pagen pilgrimage. They should included. How dare I propose
that I should be so narrow as to insist that our fraternity
should be christian. I should respect them for what they believe
and not deny them'.
Well ! it seems to me that it is a question of respect. I respect them
enough to not wish to make any comment of what they do. If
they wish to hug trees and dance in the nude, wandering wherever
they wish and calling it a pilgrimage, that is up to them. They are
responsible for their own souls. But I expect the same respect. I
am not inventing Christian Santiago Pilgrimage, I only wish
to link with this heritage of prayer and contemplation that
leads to the icon experience that we call hugging the saint.
I am taking responsibility for my own soul and the souls of
those who come with me.
This is all a question of respect and acceptance. These virtues
are part of the great Christian virtue of loving the neighbour.
But even so they are recognised as worthy of merit by all.
It is a two way street give and take. Don't judge my pilgrimage and
fraternity by the values that you impose on yours. And don't
call it a christian pilgrimage when it is not!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Rhythm of Pilgrimage Part3.

So after a few days the body has caught up with the aspirations of the mind. This does not mean that all will be easy it will not. Although you will have become much fitter than you have been for a long time, you are still working at a high level of energy expenditure. You will get more and more tired as time goes on. If you are not blessed by the need to be back at work on a certain date and you have an open fight ticket, then it is possible to rest more often. But this is not available to many. It is not easy to stay fresh for the whole of the Camino's 55o miles. Pacing yourself helps, bit that Ryan air flight is not negotiable and you will have to push yourself to keep to a timetable. All that being said it does not mean that you have to rush the whole time. Unless that is that you have planned the trip to the hour. And you have overestimated you abilities. This is the province of the young. The restless need to get on and get there is an enemy of a satisfying pilgrimage. So allow space in your pilgrimage for a days rest now and again. So let's return to day four onwards. By now the pains are less and you are walking with ease. If you started from St Jean the country is getting a little less hilly and the walking is good through the Rioja. pleasant vineyards and little villages are a joy, at first, but so is human nature one does get used to them. There are sights that enthrall. I remember one morning coming up to Ganon. The Church was visible on the hill ahead. The moon was full and setting. It was broad daylight. there was a moment when the moon sat on top of the church tower as though it was impaled on the weather vane. And the moon looked so close that it appeared that it tower of the Church and the moon were exactly the same distance away. Unforgettable. Now you begin to think about everyone you have left behind, the joys and the problems. This drifts into the the dark corners of memory to those places where the unresolved lurks. You begin to work them. After a few days one gets to a place of peace. The work now is to be on the deepest level. One enters a space where time losses its relevance. I only have this distance to walk and I have four hours to lunch. I am deep with myself and experiencing a certain detachment from the immediate reality. This is an important place to be. Jesus said seek and you will find. Use the space for this most spiritual of all quests. You can switch off and become a walking zombie, many do. The unspiritual most certainly do, but you Child of God are able to experience an Emmaus experience. He is walking right next to you. Those senses that have have been switched off for years back at home are coming to life. It is although you developed a whole new set of senses. You are not able to see him, but you know he is there. Let God now work in you.