August is nearly on us again, so I hope you are all getting in practice for this years pilgrimage to Canterbury, which shows signs of being another wonderful break from the hassles of everyday life.

Pilgrim News

Congratulations to Rosie Simons (see photo) on her first communion

Claire and Nick Parsons are pleased to announce the safe (though 7 weeks early) arrival of a future pilgrim. Joseph was born on his fathers birthday. 1st March 1997 at Jessops Hospital, Sheffield


It seems that everyone is getting married at the moment, but that may just he that my mind is very much still set on my own recent nuptials (more anon). Mike

Josephine Hennessy and Alexander Gunby were married on Sunday 25th May 1997 at the Church of The Holy Family in Reigate. We wish them every happiness together.

Forthcoming Weddings

Congratulations are also due to the following happy pilgrim couples:

Phil Sharp and Louise who are to be married on 27th September 1997 at St Richard's Catholic Church in Chichester.

Sam Denny (Norwich Pilgrimage) and Jimmy Dean (numerous pilgrimages )are planning to marry next year.

Alan Tilley and Ruth Allanson have recently announced their engagement.

Chris Bamber is engaged. Who’s the lucky lady Chris?


Jess Mike Kanssen's Wedding — May 17th 1997

It was a beautiful summers day just as we had booked!

There was an excellent attendance for our wedding and was lovely to see so many of our friends both old and new some who travelled quite long distances to celebrate with us.

The Mass was very uplifting and it was made so much more special by these friends from two pilgrimage groups who contributed, and the brilliance of the Music that raised the roof!  The best man enjoyed the service so much he has since announced his own wedding! He had never actually been to a wedding before!)

After the mass were chauffeured away in an Austin 7 (sharing a bottle of champagne on the way) to the magnificent Woodlands Park Hotel only to be greeted by a glass of ‘bucks fizz’ so we just managed to sail through the photographs!

Then came the barn dance, which was very successful if rather too hot. We only just had enough energy for one or two dances before we had to slip away, but local rumour tells us the sing song afterwards went on past midnight. We hope everyone enjoyed their fish and chips and wedding cake and recovered fully afterwards! Father D’Arcy was grateful for the large mass attendance on Sunday and the collection went up by 50%!

So then we were off on our honeymoon to Egypt and the Red Sea. Egypt… well how can we sum it up? - impossible - for if we were to describe it to you, the newsletter would be to big to print! It’s just quite incredible with the Pyramids, temples and tombs etc. especially Tutankhamun’s treasures which date back to 1350 BC and are still intact in the museum. But it wasn’t all a matter of antiques and old stonework. We some how found time for romantic Felluca rides at sunset and a week by the sea, along with various other honeymoon activities! The Red Sea was exquisite with the lovely beaches, coral, and crystal clear water filled with tropical fish which we chased endlessly with our underwater cameras! Anyone interested in coming to an Egypt Photography Evening, we’re charging £2 a session for 1 hour every Friday for 6 years - all proceeds towards A&B funds!!

It was hard coming back to reality but we’re settling in well - after all what more could one possibly want here in Langham: beautiful countryside, plenty of walks, 30 mins drive to the beach and of course the shopping in Colchester! - the best of both worlds!

Thanks again to all those for coming alone to our wedding and we lock forward to seeing you in August

Love, Jess & Mike


New Addresses

If anyone has the current addresses of the following pilgrims, could they please pass them on to a member of the Committee:

Hannah Brunton formally of Worthing (Canterbury 1, Walsingham 1, Buckfast 1, Sussex, Papal pilgrimages)

Marjorie Hopkins formally of Peacehaven (Canterbury 1 & 2)

Timothy Weir formally of Ashtead (Canterbury 1 & 2, Glastonbury 1)



The boxes are still stacked low

‘Cos I don’t want to go,

From a one bedroom flat

Into a studio small at that!


I hired a van, I hired some men,

But so much to do even then.

Bed, sofa, table and chairs

Only up one flight of stairs.


Will it go? Will it fit?

Yes, if I move the sofa a bit.

Walking boots, clothes and books,

Packed in cupboards, hung from hooks.


Papers for this, papers for that,

I’ve even found my woolly hat.

It doesn’t matter where I look

I just can’t find my cheque book!


Very close to Shepherds Bush

Yet at night such a hush,

But every evening I have heard,

For over an hour, an angry blackbird.


Still I go back to Gordon Court,

Slowly I empty cupboards and sort.

Bit-by-bit I will go

On the bus, number 220!


Gillian McLauchlan



The sky above is a dynamic image,

Our earth below is nature’s book.

A wispy haze eclipses the sun’s rage,

Those who do not travel read only one page.


Whilst we saunter on our worldly ways,

Our soul walks on celestial trails;

In the depths of the valley we cry aloud,

Help us see the Son instead of the cloud.


Cumulus sin veils our material age;

Our Saviour, sees all: the heavenly sage.

Azure vista atop, bound with Augustine we stalk;

Oh Lord, give us this day, our daily walk.


Danny Thomas July ‘97

Danny has also written a piece on Pilgrimage for his local 5 churches magazine, which he has kindly sent along for inclusion.


Pilgrimage – then, now and…

Pilgrimage – then…

Pilgrimage history is pre-Christian, but in the Christian context Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a good starting point. The poet describes how, one April day in the late 14th century, 30 good folk assemble in Southwark to start a journey to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket in Canterbury:

“The hooly blisful martir for to seke,

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.”

So one aspect of pilgrimage was giving thanks for health or recovery from sickness, indeed for any blessing.

One of Chaucer’s characters, the Parson, speaks of pilgrimage to Canterbury as being like pilgrimage to Jerusalem - both a real, historical city and an image of the city beyond history, the heavenly city.

A pilgrimage, then, to medieval consciousness, was a metaphor of the human journey from birth to death, and through death to new life.

To our ancestors in the middle ages, it was natural to celebrate all occasions of life, birth, maturity, marriage, death, eating, drinking, loving with ritual formal or informal. Pilgrimage encapsulated in miniature the whole span of human life - a microcosm of society. It was a formal journey made in a spirit of informal celebration.

The pilgrim, and the journey known as a pilgrimage, was, from earliest times, a unique expression of the Israelites worship of the One God. The annual religious feasts of the early Hebrews were often celebrated in the context of elaborate pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Pilgrimage – now…

To the believer, little of the above may have changed. For now as then, a pilgrimage is an outward journey that models the inward journey of spiritual growth. Yet no one need be formally a believer to feel included. For whether or not we hold traditional religious ideas, the pilgrimage remains a wonderful model of the human trajectory, as natural as setting one foot in front of the other.

“Pilgrimage - The striving to obtain salvation of your soul through a physical journey in which caritas, love for God; and not cupiditas, love for material things, drives you.”

In the Gospel of Luke, we see how even the Holy Family participated in a yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to observe the feast of Passover as was prescribed by Jewish custom. “Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom” (Luke 2:41,42). In much the same way Christians during the first few centuries after Jesus’ death and resurrection journeyed from Europe and other parts of the globe to the sacred sites of the Holy Land. Eager to grow in their understanding of Jesus and identify with His early life, our Christian ancestors frequently set out from their homelands for the places made holy by Jesus when He walked the villages and towns along the Sea of Galilee. Since that time and throughout spread of Christianity, Christians have been on the move, travelling the world over to experience first-hand the ordinary places made extraordinary by the presence of God. Whether to the Holy Land, Lourdes, Canterbury, or the Eternal City of Rome, Christians have journeyed.

Originating from the Latin peregrines, the term pilgrim evokes the one wandering in search of a deeper reality; one determined to discover a more profound truth about the events and circumstances which define human existence. The Christian pilgrim proclaims to the rest of humanity that what the world offers is not sufficient to satisfy all of human longing. It is necessary to look elsewhere, even if it takes us far from home. The very act of a pilgrimage reaffirms that: we are in the world but not of it. “We have here no lasting city” (Heb. 13:14). And so, the pilgrim and the journey of a pilgrimage point us in the right direction. Within the confines of time and space, a pilgrimage enables us to realise that in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, we are capable of also finding God, if only we venture to seek Him out.


So where to begin? Well, it might not be a bad idea to start right where you are, there is an abundance of Christian “holy places” where you and your family can relive the adventure of our Christian fore-parents in seeking out the places at which Our Lord or His Saints have made Themselves known.

Here in England, for instance;

Walsingham, Norfolk, (with Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Methodist “centres”)

Canterbury, Kent

Glastonbury, Somerset

Bath, Avon

St. Michael’s Mount, Cornwall

If you are planning a holiday, include a visit to a shrine or place of pilgrimage on your itinerary as away of enriching your faith and appreciation for our Christian ancestry.

There are also “organised” Pilgrimages; for instance - the “Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.” This group has been walking for two weeks each August since 1975. Recently they have walked:

Winchester Cathedral to Buckfast Abbey

Guildford to Hereford Cathedral

Arundel Cathedral to Glastonbury (via the Isle of Wight!)

Swansea to St. David’s Cathedral

Guildford to Norwich Cathedral

Pilgrims can walk the whole or parts of each journey; each Pilgrimage covers a distance of about 200 miles, walking mainly on footpaths and sleeping on ball floors. Pilgrims can join as Day Pilgrims at any point on the Pilgrimage (daily distances vary from 10 to 20 miles.) Pilgrims are drawn from all denominations and are aged from 16 (or younger with parents), to 67! In total about 50 Pilgrims walk the whole two weeks; others join for a week, weekend or just for half a day. We aim to pray in churches we pass and pray for the local communities.

On 9th August, this years Pilgrimage departs from Chichester Cathedral en route to Canterbury, arriving 22nd August; the rest days will be in Eastbourne and Dover. The theme of the Pilgrimage will be Christian Unity, 1997 being the 1400th anniversary of St. Augustine, (the first Archbishop of Canterbury), arriving in Kent to try to unite the divided Christians of Saxon England.

In an age when there is ever-increasing competition for our time and focus, it is vital that we carve out a place reserved solely for getting back to the basics. A pilgrimage, in this sense, takes us out of our everyday routines and, at the same time, brings us home. It anchors us once again in the singular context which helps us make sense of the rest of our lives. If it was necessary for even Jesus to get in the boat and cross to the other side for a few quiet moments alone, how much more is it necessary for us to get way with the Lord and put ourselves again at His disposal.

“Follow Me, follow Me, leave your homes and family,

Leave your fishing nets and boats along the shore;

Leave the seeds that you have sown

Leave the crops that you have grown;

Leave the people you have known and follow Me”

The notion that the Christian life entails picking up and setting out for places unknown, leaving behind the familiar, material and comfortable trappings of “home”, is nothing new. A pilgrimage, quite simply, serves as an outward expression of our inner response to Jesus’ invitation to get away with Him; and discover the wonderful Christian sites of our land made holy by the presence of God and the worship of His people.

Bibliography and further reading:


The Pilgrim Ways

Keith Sugden

David and Charles



Stephen Platten



Prayers for Pilgrims

Margaret Pawley

Triangle SPCK


Come Wind, Come Weather

John H. Taylor

URC and Baptists


Pilgrim Ways

David Marshall

Autumn House


The Pilgrims’ Manual

Christopher Irvine

Wild Goose


Sacred Places, Pilgrim Paths

Martin Robinson

Marshal Pickering


Walking Round Wales

Shirley Toulson

Michael Joseph


Sacred Britain

M & N Palmer





The Blistering Ways

by Rev. Bill Haynes

Pilgrims Progress

by Danny Thomas

Danny Thomas February 1997