Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Only a few days now

The City of Porto.

 The River Douro
The Cathedral in Porto
I am nearly done. I have prepared the pilgrimage for the group
that will be leaving on Sunday morning. I still have to buy a few things.
These are mostly art materials for the group. This pilgrimage is to be
a prayer school and will included prayer through the creative. I
have never led a pilgrimage quite like this. It is my aim to
discover more of the experience of prayer that we call pilgrimage.

A few days ago I came across a rather interesting definition of
a true pilgrim. It did not depend on walking or on staying in the
right places, in fact it stayed well away from any definition of
that kind. Rather it focused on the heart of the pilgrim. Most
especially what happened after the return. It said~ A true pilgrim
is one who takes the lessons gained on pilgrimage and applies them
to their lives when they return. Now that is an interesting one, is
it not? By that definition there are not as many real pilgrims around
as we would like to think. And more than that, horror of horrors, some
of the real pilgrims to Santiago went on a coach!

So it is of great concern to me that more than an interesting time is
had by all. If you will, perhaps you will pray for us. That there
maybe a real encounter with our Lord Jesus that changes lives and
makes a difference to us all when we return. And we will pray for

Thursday, 23 September 2010

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I do not think that it is possible for anyone in the UK to have missed thevisit of the Holy Father to these shores. To many peopleit was a surprise that it was the success that it was. I followed the blogs on the internet for some weeks before hand. They were full of doom and gloom about the arrangements. Critics where complaining about how much it was going to cost. Why should the tax payer foot the bill and why was it a state visit? They discounted the Vatican state as an anomaly of history, an over grown house with pretensions to grandeur. So to pay any need to these Job’s comforters, was to believe that organizationally it was going to be a disaster and for that matter no one was going to turn up! Thank God the reality was different. God’s rottweiler turned out to be my grand dad in a funny dress. But the power was in what he said. The full significance has yet to be seen and I believe that a great deal has been done of that moves us towards unity with our brothers in Rome.
. The most significant part, for me, of the visit was that afternoon, when he spoke to the great and good in Westminster Hall. As he said in his speech, this was the place of Sir Thomas More’s trial. Thomas More was a courtier of Henry 8. He found himself in the position of choosing between following the teaching of the church about marriage and divorce and doing as Henry demanded,. Most especially was it possible for Henry to be rid of Catherine of Aragon, his wife. He decided that he had to follow his conscience. So he was tried and found guilt of treason and put to death. . The underlying question was, ‘Where is ultimate authority‘?. The Church or the state! The Pope’s speech made it clear that God’s law comes before our laws and is the model on which they are built. So the pope was saying that Church teaching comes first. . If this was not enough, having addressed the MPs etc in Westminster Hall, he goes across to Westminster Abbey and joins a service that is led by the leaders of the churches in England. That is, without those who have been in the previous meeting in Westminster Hall. In other words he addresses the Church. Those who exercise power in Westminster were not evident. It is not their place to interfere in the affairs of the church! . The overall message was that the Church is free of civil control and must exercise a prophetic ministry to guide the nation. Now for a church that is supposed to be The Established Church, with the Queen/ Parliament in Charge that was a big statement. A revolutionary change. I for one, welcome this shift. . The shackles of the secular power are loosening. Sir Thomas More would have been delighted

Monday, 20 September 2010

Today is the first day of the new year for Peterborough Pilgrims to Santiago. Yes, I do know that it is the 20 September, and as far as I know, there is no precedent, any place ,for this date to be the beginning of anything. So why is it the new year? Simple. Today is the the day I have started to make mint jelly for the clergy of the Diocese of Peterborough. I guess the you would like a little more information. Every other year, I make a large pan of jelly/chutney/ jam. This is packed in small jars and given to the diocesan clergy on their annual day conference. On the jar is a note with an invitation to come and hear about pilgrimages to Santiago, with a view to joining us next year. The invitation is for them and anyone in their congregations. You might think that a simple flyer would be enough. It isn't. Like school kids, it will be lost/ forgotten about before it gets home and has no chance whatsoever of getting beyond them. So a jar of something carries a label with the details on it. The jar gets handed over to the cleric's wife, who reads the label and the information gets passed on. It also comes out from time to time and sits on the dinning table of the home it has entered and reminds the family of its true purpose~ to get to new pilgrims and invite them to a tea party to hear about Santiago. Job done! It does work. We have had several folk join us by this method. So today is the start of the new season for us. We have number of pilgrimages planned for next year. They may change but these are the plans so far. Easter week and the following week; Porto to Santiago July 23 2011 depart; Northampton to Portsmouth 10 days; option to walk to Santiago via Santander Oviedo, Primativo, Santiago; circa 35 days from Northampton, plans to be developed in the light of interest. Early September; Sarria to Santiago. especially for the partially sighted and less than able. This will be an extended week. These pilgrimages are open to everyone. Would you like to join us? Well do!