This newsletter arrives together with your invitation and application
form to this Autumn’s reunion in St. Leonard’s, East Sussex, which is being
hosted by Fr. David Russell during the weekend of 3rd - 5th
This newsletter contains not just one, but two reflective reviews of this
summer’s pilgrimage together with details of the new organising team and the
proposed destination for next summer’s journey.
Please forward any information for these columns to: Andy Ollard
This year’s Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage was in honour of the many
martyrs of the Reformation Period, both Catholic and Protestant, who witnessed
to their faith and remained true even unto death. In particular we wished to
honour St Philip Howard who died 400 years ago. The pilgrimage began on Sunday,
August 12th and ended on Sunday, August 27th. The actual walking amounted to
approximately 180 miles and covered a route that went from Arundel up to London
and down to Brighton.
I was asked to give my impressions of both the pilgrimage and England. I
am a Canadian and the pilgrimage was part of my first visit to England. As a
schoolboy in Canada, I had learned a lot about English history and geography. It
was a thrill to be in the country, which next to my own, seemed to have been
worthy of our greatest amount of attention.
The first thing that I observed is that the approximately 60 individual
pilgrims quickly became a (pilgrimage) family. Many pilgrims knew one another
from previous pilgrimages and rejoiced at being reunited, but everyone, old
timers as well as new, was made welcome. I know that the reason for this quick
bonding was our common Christian faith, which unites us to Christ and to one
another as brothers and sisters in Christ. This sense of family was able to
carry us through the two weeks.
This was fostered by daily prayers, such as the Holy Mass, the hours of
morning and evening prayer and the many God Stops. It was also fostered by our
walking together, sharing daily tasks as sandwich making and cleaning up, being
tolerant of individual needs and habits and showing concern for those people who
struggled more than others to finish the route.
I was also struck by the beauty of this particular corner of England. On
our way from Arundel to London (via Storrington, Cranleigh and Cobham) and
especially when we returned towards the coast (via Bromley, Westerham, East
Grinstead, Uckfield, Eastbourne, Seaford and Brighton), we encountered much
lovely countryside and splendid views, particularly from the top of the Sussex
Downs. It is truly a pleasant land and although it was not green due to the
drought, it has left a very serene impression on me. I enjoyed stopping at the
many historic inns and pubs. I fell in love with your many country churches,
preferring them over the cathedrals because they manifested a solid witness to
the continuous faithfulness of the country people. They also possessed a simple
quietness that lent much devotion to our various God stops.
London, in contrast, struck me as a very large and somewhat shabby city.
Yet even in this teaming metropolis, we found a quite oasis of prayer at the
Tyburn Convent of the Benedictine Adorers of the Sacred Heart. After Mass, a
sister explained the story of the Catholic martyrs who die for their faith at
the Tyburn Tree, a hideous triangular gallows, which was located near today’s
Marble Arch. She also pointed out the various pictures and relics of the martyrs
along the crypt chapel walls. When I think of the zeal of these men and women
who were ready to sacrifice everything for Christ’s sake, I can only pray God
to help us in our day to remain faithful.
Lastly, I was impressed by the way in which the pilgrimage was organised.
Almost everything seemed to run smoothly. This was due to the hard work of the
organising committee, the initial preparations made by the route planners and
the efforts of many people during the pilgrimage. The accommodations in various
schools and halls were usually adequate. The meals were always excellent and
much appreciated after a long walk. Our cooks deserve our hearty thanks.
When asked if I would consider another pilgrimage, my answer was and
remains “yes”. I would recommend the pilgrimage to any Christian who is up
to the challenge. It is a joyous struggle towards God, a call to be faithful to
the end. In this way the pilgrimage reflects our entire Christian life, “We
walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5 v7).
Through the woods along ancient paths I would ramble;
On either side a throng of bluebells a crowd of bramble.
Chinks of sunlight peek through the firs and beech,
On to God’s wildlife; his special stamp on each.
I come to a crossroads, the crossroads of life?
Looking back on this vale of tears, of problems and strife,
With me all the way is the palm of God’s hand;
Taking me with Him to the Promised Land.
It is said that God can work in mysterious ways… well, it looks like he
is getting pretty mysterious again because I’ve been chosen to be the
Organiser of next year’s Pilgrimage! That’s the bad news out of the way, now
for the good news, the rest of next year’s planning team are a well-organised
and experienced group of pilgrims.
In as Accommodation Officers are Danny and Norma Thomas. Danny has for
several years been our Medical Officer (Blister Popper!) and Norma, the
assistant chef in Frances’s Caterers Ltd. It will be interesting to see if
next year’s halls all have large kitchens and operating theatres attached.
The new Chief Route Planner is Hair Bear (Maurice Hickman), a keen and
experienced rambler and member of the St. Francis’s Walkers. He is also an
expert on real ales, so be prepared for some interesting lunch stops next year.
Once again in the difficult job of Bookings Secretary is our very
experienced Gillian McLauchlan. The reason I say difficult is because pilgrims
seem to find anything that isn't orange and arrow shaped difficult to follow.
Booking forms, and dates to be returned by, are lost on pilgrims and would try
the patience of a saint. As sainthood is a difficult thing to get the church to
bestow on anyone these days could we all try to get next year’s application
forms in as early as possible... pretty please??
In as General Secretary is Alan Fox, an ex-organiser himself who knows
precisely what I’ve let myself in for. . .and is probably trying to work out
how to do a damage limitation exercise.
Father Rob has kindly agreed to be our Chaplain / Spiritual Director for
the next pilgrimage as the Pope is otherwise engaged. However, as Rob can speak
English more fluently and can probably walk further, this could be to our
advantage. If anyone does know of any Anglican or Free Church priest / vicar /
minister who likes walking... try a bit of sweet talking please.
Mary Russell heads the team of Andy Ollard and Alan Fox in liasing with
the different churches we pass on the pilgrimage route. Involving local
parishioners, meeting them and sharing our journey with them is an important
part of what the pilgrimage is about and is an area we need to develop more.
Our very own Chef Supreme (as opposed to chicken supreme), Frances Dean,
will be back again to tickle and tantalise our tastebuds with her culinary
creations. Simon Donovan has also indicated that he is willing to wrestle with
the £200.00 toaster which can cremate bread at the alarming rate of six per
minute and has been known to set off fire alarms!
Beware. . .the Inland Revenue (Julian Martin) has taken over the role of
Treasurer. . . he is already contemplating what is and what is not tax
deductible. He also assures us that he will be WALKING next year as opposed to
driving so be prepared to be amazed!
Our Van Driver for next year will be John Russell... the man who has
actually helped front mark from a van (ref Norwich Pilgrimage)... and if you can
do that... nothing is impossible.
Next year’s Sarnie Queen (or should we call her Queen Rolly these days
as sarnies have been superseded by rolls?) will be Lesley Hill. She will be
taking orders from the 10th of August and promptly dishing them out again.
Andy Ollard, in conjunction with his role of liasing with local churches,
is our Publicity and Press Officer. He is also our Newsletter Editor so, please,
if you have any information about yourself or any other past member of our
pilgrim family please send this information to: Andy Ollard.
Rosemary Southon has expressed an interest in taking on the Drinks Car so
it looks like we’ll be watered on our way... hmmmm... Southon Water Ltd.
Monica McLauchlan, with assistance from Simon Donovan, are looking into
alternative transport for pilgrims unable to walk... This could prove to be very
important because, at present, Blisters are not allowed on next year’s
pilgrimage! Let me put that another way... at present we have not got a Medical
Officer. So if you are, or know of a Nurse or Doctor, who is good with a needle,
bandage etc., please get in touch.
And so to the important question... Where is this wonderful team of
volunteers going to take the pilgrims? At the end of this year’s pilgrimage
there was a vote... and a third pilgrimage to Buckfast Abbey in Devon is now the
destination for 1996. The provisional dates are Saturday 10th of August to
Sunday 25th. (Note provisional, as halls not booked yet). So start getting your
holidays at work booked because if past experiences of Buckfast Pilgrimages is
anything to go by... it’s going to be good... really stunning countryside,
coastal views, rest days by the sea... need I say more?
Love & Prayers, Patrick Reeve
The sun shone with a continual
fierceness rarely experienced in southeast England. 70 pilgrims of all ages were
treading the scorched earth of Kent, Sussex and Surrey on an Ecumenical Walking
Pilgrimage. A group of Anglicans, Roman Catholics, URC, Quaker and Baptists
followed in the footsteps of both Catholic and Protestant martyrs as we walked
and worshipped together. Our route was to take us from Arundel, into London and
down to Brighton.
Arundel was soon a silhouette
against the landscape as we set off with our day sacks and water bottles full to
the brim. Each night we put down our sleeping bags in school/church or village
halls (some with very limited facilities for hot sticky pilgrims!).
Day after day a team of cooks
prepared excellent meals, our main luggage was transported and the field
hospital attended an unending queue of blister patients. A soft drinks car met
up with us at regular intervals to ensure we did not de-hydrate and several
villages had arranged for us to go in relays to the homes of kind folk who
offered baths and showers. Without all this support our pilgrimage would have
During the two weeks we shared
worship as a group on about 55 occasions. Prayer stops were held in Parish
churches we passed on the way -times of spiritual and physical benefit. We
remembered the particular parishes in prayer, sang and reflected together and
rested in the cool of these wonderful old buildings. Apart from the celebration
of the Eucharist, our denominational labels were forgotten as we praised God
together and a real warmth of fellowship developed. We all wore special pilgrim
crosses as we journeyed and many, many people stopped to enquire about our
purpose -from milkmen on early morning rounds to senior citizens on Eastbourne
pier. Marvellous opportunities for witness.
After 231 miles of walking we
finally reached our destination. “Congratulations”, “You’ve made it”,
“Well done” echoed through St. Bartholomew’s Hall, Brighton. What
excitement and jubilation.
A pilgrimage of true celebration
—for the past witness of the
—for the present opportunities
of witness and worship together
—for the future longing that
our ecumenical bonding will grow ever stronger.
Jennifer and Ron Smith
Sadly, that we report the death
of Bernard Dare on 5th July 1995, following a long illness with Parkinson’s
Disease. He had been a great leader during the early Walking Pilgrimages, Holy
Year, Walsingham 1, Glastonbury 1, Canterbury 2, St. Wilfrid’s, Lindisfarne,
Wessex. We pray that Bernard may live in God’s Glorious presence forever.
Please also remember Bernard’s widow, Dulcie and their son Peter in your
We remembered Bernard at St.
Peter’s Church, Brighton during our Celebration Liturgy on this year’s
pilgrimage when a candle was lit for each member of our pilgrimage family who
have now completed their life’s journey.
Congratulations to this
summer’s chief route planners, Louise Ingelbrecht and John Chenery who were
married at St. Edward’s Church, Keymer, East Sussex on Saturday, 23rd
September. The nuptial mass was celebrated by Fr. Bill and the new ciboria and
chalices, purchased to celebrate the pilgrimages’ 20th anniversary were used
during the liturgy. The pilgrim musicians played and lead the singing. After the
ceremony, Louise and John were presented with a wedding gift on behalf of the
Yet another wedding with
pilgrimage connections took place this year. The Abbey Church in Iona was the
venue on 30th September where Gillian Trew, Hereford, married Stephen Taylor.
Stephen and Gillian jointly lead the communion service at the Untied Reformed
Church in Bromley on Day 7 of this summer’s pilgrimage. Our congratulations to
them and to all who were married earlier this year!
M is for Martyrs with faith bright ablaze
A is for Arundel resplendent in the haze
R is for Revulsion and derision
T is for Time to heal our division
Y is for Yearning for unity
R is for Resurrection into heavenly infinity
A pair of walking boots were left in St. Bartholomew’s School in
Brighton at the end of the Martyrs’ Pilgrimage.
At the same time, Pat Cripps was unable to locate her boots when packing
to leave the school. Unfortunately, the pair that were discovered are not
Pat’s. It seems likely that someone has mistakenly taken home the wrong pair.
If you walked into Brighton on this summer’s pilgrimage would you
please check that the boots you brought home are definitely yours? If you think
you may have Pat’s boots please contact her .