To be a pilgrim...
A weekend conference on pilgirmage, open to all, at Cliff College, Derbyshire. 6th-8th April 2018.
Registration is now open here
Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB) has offered pilgrimage over the past few years in a number of ways, all open to any women with an interest in Christian spirituality. Former President Jill Baker co-ordinates this area of activity:
Walking pilgrimages between Durham and Lindisfarne
- Between 2014 and 2016, 5 groups of women (aged from 22-76) walked around 30 miles over three days (plus some public transport) to connect Durham, the burial place of St. Cuthbert, with Lindisfarne, where he ministered and was briefly bishop. The pilgrimage ends in Berwick-upon-Tweed.
- Each pilgrimage has included a short service in Seahouses Methodist Church and an opportunity to worship with members of the local Methodist congregation.
- After the final MWiB pilgrimage along this route in August 2016, more information will be posted on the MWiB website (www.mwib.org.uk) and made available in these pages if other groups want to use the same route.
Pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine
- In November 2015 a group of 34 women travelled with McCabe's Tour Company to spend 11 days in the Holy Land with 6 nights in Jerusalem and 4 nights in Tiberias.
- A similar pilgrimage may be organised at some point in the future (not before 2018) - updates will be given in these pages.
Coming soon: Walking pilgrimage in Scotland
- A route is currently being devised to link Glasgow with Whithorn. This will hopefully be tried out by a pilot group in 2018 and then offered for other groups from 2019. Watch this space!
- More information about the Whithorn Way can be found at www.whithornway.org
- The intention is to engage with Methodism in Scotland now, as well as exploring something of the religious history of the land, especially the lives of St. Mungo and St. Ninian.
- In 1061 the Lady of the Manor had a vision of Mary along with instructions to build the Nazareth house in Walsingham. A spring appeared and a shrine grew up, often known as "England's Nazareth".
- Walsingham has an Anglican shrine (with a large residential centre and facilities) and a Roman Catholic shrine based at the "Slipper Chapel" a mile away and receives many Anglican and Roman Catholic pilgrims.
- Walsingham Methodist chapel (the oldest Methodist chapel still in use in East Anglia) is open regularly during the tourist season as part of the local tradition of offering hospitality/encounter. The small Methodist congregation there is exploring what else Methodism can offer.
- Rev. Adam Stevenson and other Methodists have been involved in pilgrimage to Walsingham through the Ecumenical Marian Pilgrimage Trust www.ecumenicalmarianpilgrimage.org.uk/
- Potential exists for exploring vocation (Mary as a woman who said "yes"); being a woman in the Christian church; Family life...
- Rev. Simon Topping organised and led a pilgrimage to Tolpuddle for young adults in 2015, which highlighted the social justice issues relating to the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, linking that with current employment justice issues.
- The original Methodist chapel where the Tolpuddle Martyrs worshipped has been bought by a trust to be renovated and restored, which could generate interest.
- There is a small handful of Methodists there.
- An annual event takes place in Tolpuddle, organised by the TUC, in which the Methodist district (Southampton) plays a part and has a presence.
Other activities/anecdotes which have, or could have, an element of pilgrimage
- Good Friday/Palm Sunday (& other) walks of witness - especially praying in significant places (link to "healing on the streets"?)
- "Green walks" with environmental focus.
- Days out... e.g. (as practised in Darlington district) - a coach trip with young people to climb a mountain, have communion at summit, descend then go out for meal together - a day pilgrimage!
- Local Methodist Church Walking Club - Observation that one church which has held monthly walks on a Saturday for decades now has a much larger percentage of men in the congregation than the national average.
- Prayer walks around a church building - using prayer stations/prayer journeys. This can offer a form of pilgrimage to those who would be unable to engage in a walk/journey of any length. Use of labyrinth can offer similar opportunities - even finger labyrinth done in chair for those without mobility (see more under Resources).
- Walking the Keills in the Isle of Man - or similar parish walks/beating the bounds.
- Walking within a local circuit - Walks between churches meeting for prayer, worship (& usually refreshment) in different churches and walking between the buildings, inviting the members (& others) to come along and tell the story of the area. Experience in Glasgow where this has given rise to meaningful and moving conversations.
- Bus route pilgrimage - use bus passes/day tickets to travel an entire bus route, stopping off at any churches on the route (for refreshments); praying for the city/town/community as you go.
DMLN Study Tours
- Whilst not offered as pilgrimage per se, several study tours have been organised by Rev. Dr. Stephen Skuce (Director of Scholarship, Research and Innovation) to pilgrimage sites inc Israel/Palestine and Rome - which seek to provide context and background for encounters in these locations. See Conferences, Study Tours, Lectures
Methodist Heritage sites(or any Methodist buildings/sites in your locality) could give rise to pilgrimage, perhaps in conjunction with Methodist Heritage. There is interest around in developing long-distance pilgrimage routes to the key sites, not least amongst partner churches overseas. If you would be interested in working on this (or already are) - do share your findings (email firstname.lastname@example.org)!