Hello again dear friends!
We have been silent on our blog since the Lenten podcast series, which I hope you all enjoyed, but though we have been silent that does not mean we have not been busy. In fact, since Lent we have been diligently preparing to begin the next adventure in our experiential Christian formation, our pilgrimage to England. The itinerary is set, which you can find at the bottom of the post. Our bags are in various states of packed. We have our tickets and on Friday evening we embark on our next sacred and spiritual journey.
For all of you who will not be joining us on the pilgrimage, fear not because you are invited to follow us here on our blog! We will publish posts of videos, photos, and reflections throughout the day, every day, as we travel and explore the theme of reconciliation in light of our Anglican tradition and heritage.
In preparation for our trip I wanted to offer a few thoughts that have been on my mind as I prepare for this journey, especially coming off of last year’s amazing pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The title of this post comes from a poem in one of my favorite books and movies The Lord of the Rings, and though the speaker of the poem is referring to the hidden identity of a major character, when I think of a pilgrimage this line comes to mind. I think of it because when I am on pilgrimage it feels like a series of spiritual wanderings in which we are not lost at all.
Pilgrimages, a journey to encounter the sacred sites and landscapes of our faith, have been a part of our Christian tradition and even precedes our Christian desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Abraham was a pilgrim as he was instructed to “leave…Go to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12) The Magi visiting Christ is another example of a pilgrimage. (Matthew 2) For those of us who are able to travel to these sacred places our pilgrimage is a physical journey, but we experience it as a particular state of being. St. Paul often wrote about being a stranger and an alien on a spiritual pilgrimage as he spread the Good News of Christ to the Greco-Roman world. (Acts 7:6, Ephesians 2:19) I imagine you can think of a spiritual journey that you have experienced in your life.
If pilgrimages can be more than just a physical journey but one that can also be spiritual, then it is something that we can all experience, because we go on pilgrimage to be transformed. Not matter what kind of sacred journey we undertake we are always transformed in one way or another. You will not be the same person when you return. Our hope is that we grow deeper in our faith, deeper in our understanding of how God is working in and through us, and a richer life of prayer.
While on the pilgrimage to the Holy Land I wrote a post on the Fifth Gospel, the idea that was first espoused in 1863 by French historian, philosopher, and writer Ernest Renan. In his controversial book Life of Jesus he writes that during his time living and working in the Galilee region he was able to explore the holy sites in the region and bring together the stories of the New Testament and his experiences of the land. These two things coming together form for him what he called the Fifth Gospel. Just like the gospel authors who wrote down their experiences of Jesus, so too can we write our own Fifth Gospel.
On Friday night, twenty-six of us will begin writing a new chapter in our gospel as we make our journey across England. We too go bearing all that we are…hoping to be changed, hoping to experience Jesus in new ways and in new places, hoping for a deeper relationship with God through Christ.
Pray for us while we make our pilgrimage and know that everywhere we go we will be praying for you.
- Day 1 – Friday July 1
- Travel from Philly to Manchester, England
- Day 2 – Saturday July 2
- Travel to the city of Lancaster
- City tour and Lancaster Priory tour
- Home stays w/ parishioners
- Day 3 – Saturday July 3
- Sunday Mass at Priory
- Parish Picnic
- Day 4 – Sunday July 4
- Meet with Mayor of Lancaster and City Hall tour
- Travel to York
- Free Time in York
- Day 5 – Monday July 5
- Travel to London
- Stop for tour and lunch at St. Albans
- Free Time
- Staying at Royal Foundation of St. Katherine (RFSK)
- Day 6 – Tuesday July 6
- Day trip to Canterbury
- Tour of Canterbury Cathedral
- Noontime Mass in Jesus Chapel
- Free Time
- Return to RFSK
- Day 7 – Wednesday July 7
- Exploring London’s East End and South Bank
- Stops at Westminster and Lambeth Palace
- Return to RFSK
- Day 8 – Thursday July 8
- Travel to Oxford
- Pusey House (Oxford Movement)
- Oxford Martyrs
- Free Time to explore Oxford
- Staying at Ripon College Cuddesdon (CoE’s largest seminary)
- Day 9 – Friday July 9
- Day Trip to Coventry
- Tour of Coventry Cathedral
- Noontime Mass
- Tour of Reconciliation Center
- Return to Cuddesdon
- Day 10 – Saturday July 10
- Travel home from Manchester to Philly