POSTPONED – ST THOMAS PILGRIMAGE – 15th-30th august 2020.

Once again it is with considerable regret that owing to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic the decision has been taken to postpone the St Thomas Pilgrimage planned for the 15th – 30th August 2020 walking from Swansea to Hereford.  

The St Thomas Pilgrimage will now take place from the 14th – 29th August 2021.

Your Committee will be rearranging everything already booked and planned for the St Thomas Pilgrimage as well as the May Mini Pilgrimage. We look forward to healthier times and to welcoming you on these Pilgrimages in 2021.

The October Reunion is also doubtful but we will keep you informed.

Please stay safe and well and keep up with that daily exercise.

God Bless.

Chris Nussbaum – Coordinator 

Tom Jeffers RIP

We learnt yesterday of the death of Tom Jeffers. “Tom died peacefully in hospital on Friday having contracted Covid 19. His advancing dementia and reduced mobility made him vulnerable.

Tom and his wife Jackie first walked with us on the Papal Pilgrimage to Wembley in May 1982, and were integral and inspirational members of the group throughout the 1980s and into the 90s.

Tom, a teacher at Christ’s Hospital near Horsham, was very involved in the music of the pilgrimage, and enthusiastically encouraged the younger pilgrim to get involved.

Tom and Jackie joined the pilgrimage again in 2000 near Bracknell, on our way to Lichfield. Tom was awaiting a hip replacement and unable to walk so cycled from stop to stop. At the redundanct church of All Saints at Shurlock Row, Tom led a memorable prayer stop on the theme of “rebuilding”, ending with a rousing rendition of “God the Builder” (as in “Bob the builder”).

Here are some other photos with Tom…

Arriving in Dover 1990
Front marking
Tom’s guided tour of Oxford 1989
An open air prayer stop, 1988
Van packed! Devizes 1986
Showing Fr Reg the route, 1986.

We send our condolences to Jackie and the family. May Tom rest in peace, I’m sure the angels will be singing in welcome (and if not Tom will get them organised).

On this day…

On this day 45 years ago,  Easter Monday, 31st March 1975, 32 intrepid walkers met at Arundel Cathedral, and started a 14 day trek to “beat the bounds” of Arundel and Brighton Diocese. For the most part they were strangers to one another at the outset, but they would become firm friends as they endured the 240 mile walk, the snowy weather, and the hard floors at night. 

Masterminded by the late Fr Bill Haynes, the pilgrimage became an annual event, albeit moved to August so the challenge was heat or rain not snow. We’ve faced other hardships along the way – stolen boots, half-demolished accommodation, obstructed footpaths, injuries and illness, even deaths. But, with prayer and mutual support, we’ve pulled through, and come out stronger.

Only in 2001, when Foot and Mouth Disease closed the UK countryside, have we not been able to make our pilgrimage. With the current corona virus pandemic, our mini-pilgrimage has been put back to 2021, and the summer pilgrimage hangs in the balance.

As the pandemic affects the whole world, we invoke the pilgrimage spirit of prayer and mutual support – for those we know, and those we don’t yet know, those we journey with and those we pass (at a safe distance) on the way. We will come out the other side, and we’ll come out stronger, but for now we must keep the faith and stay strong.

POSTPONED – MINI PILGRIMAGE 8th-10th MAY

It is with great regret that owing to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the Government’s restrictions the 3-Day Mini Pilgrimage planned for the 8th-10th May 2020 walking from Arundel Cathedral to Guildford Cathedral will be postponed until 2021.  

We hope to be able to hold this pilgrimage over the first May Bank Holiday weekend from the evening of Friday 30th April – Monday 3rdMay 2021. Confirmation will be posted towards the end of 2020.

Pilgrims who have already applied and paid for this Pilgrimage will be sent a refund.

The decision regarding the August St Thomas Way Pilgrimage will be posted shortly.

Please keep yourselves safe and well.

God Bless.

Chris Nussbaum – Coordinator 

Change of Mass time Arundel Cathedral Friday May 8th

MINI PILGRIMAGE UPDATE We have just been informed that on Friday May 8th Arundel Cathedral Mass will be at the revised time of 09.00 (not 10.00 as stated on the booking form).  This change has been made by the Cathedral due to VE Day Celebrations in Arundel commencing 10.00.  Pilgrims not arriving Thursday evening are advised to be in Arundel very early on Friday morning as the town will be busy.  Pilgrim Registration has been brought forward to the earlier time of 08.15-08.45 in Arundel Cathedral Centre.

St Thomas Way Pilgrimage Swansea to Hereford 15th-30th August 2020

Saturday 15th – Sunday 30th August 2020
Swansea – Cardiff – Abergavenny – Hereford
2 weeks £210

Are you interested in walking? Do you want to join a travelling Christian community? The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage is walking the St Thomas Way from Swansea to Hereford. We are making our pilgrimage “in a spirit of thankfulness”. Come and explore our faith and Christian heritage in the countryside and churches of South Wales and Herefordshire.

We sleep in church, school or community halls, dine together, walk, laugh, sing, pray and worship together. We follow footpaths rather than roads where possible. The journey is as important as the destination. Come and walk with us! Book early!

All are welcome. You need to be over 16 (or accompanied by an adult), able to walk 15 miles a day at a moderate pace and make your own way to Swansea & home from Hereford. Luggage is transported by van; a daypack only is needed to carry supplies. Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner are included in the price. Overnights must be booked and paid for in advance, all organised by past pilgrims on a voluntary basis. Day pilgrims are welcome.

Download our 2020 Poster (and display it, please) and 2020 Booking Form

3-Day Mini Pilgrimage 8th – 10th May 2020

Are you interested in walking?
Do you want to join a travelling Christian community?
Come and walk with us for the weekend! – Only £50!

New Pilgrims Welcome!

Arundel – Duncton – Chiddingfold – Guildford
Join us for a taster weekend to explore an aspect of our Christian faith. Every day we walk, share and worship together as an Ecumenical Christian community, recognising our shared Christian mission to know and serve the Lord. We stop at pubs for lunch and sleep on the floor in church, school or community halls. We try to walk on footpaths rather than roads, where possible and stop for prayers in the churches that we pass along the way. Over the years we have found enormous community value in sharing our lives together in this way.
Our pilgrimages are open to all, so long as you can walk about 15 miles per day at a moderate pace, sleep on a floor and be able to make your own way to Arundel & home from Guildford. Under 16s must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Luggage and bedding are transported by van to each overnight stay, so only a daypack is needed to be carried for supplies.
Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner are included in the price. All overnights must be booked and paid for in advance; day pilgrims are welcome without prior notice.

You can now download the Mini Pilgrimage Poster (please print and display!) and Mini Pilgrimage Booking Form

View the diary of our 2019 ‘taster’ pilgrimage through this link

The St Thomas Way Pilgrimage 2020

Dates: Saturday August 15th to Sunday August 30th 2020
Strapline: Walking in a spirit of thankfulness
Route: SWANSEA-Port Talbot-St Brides Major-St Athan-CARDIFF (rest day)-Caerphilly-Newport-Usk-ABERGAVENNY (rest day)-Longtown-Ewyas Harold-HEREFORD

See the St Thomas Way Website  for an explanation of why our strapline is appropriate.  We wil be passing through all the places listed on that website.  The St Thomas Way was not originally envisaged as a continuous walking route but we are making it into one!

Poster and Application Form coming soon!

Gillian McLauchlan, RIP

Update: Just heard from Terri that Gillian’s funeral will be at 11am on Tuesday 26 November 2019 at Our Lady of Fatima, Commonwealth Avenue, White City W12 7QR followed by cremation at Mortlake Crematorium and a reception in the parish centre at White City.

We have learnt today of the death, last Sunday, of Gillian McLauchlan. Gillian, together with her twin sister Monica and mum Helena,put in a brief appearance on the very first pilgrimage in 1975. Gillian and Monica walked many of the early pilgrimages, and co-opted sister Theresa to join the support team in the late 70s and early 80s.

Gillian and Monica at the start of the 1977 Walsingham Pilgimage, at Arundel.

Gillian was one of the fast walkers of those early years, and she and I often walked stride-for-stride.

Eventually work got in the way of being a regular pilgrim, but Gillian always kept in touch and often turned up to call on the pilgrims when it was convenient. Looking back through my photos, in 2011 she was there at the start in Westminster and joined again (with Monica, driven by John Russell) at Birmingham.

Gillian chats to Geoff at Westminster
Gillian with John and Clare at Birmingham Botanic Gardens, after visiting the Oratory..

Having lost her twin sister to breast cancer, Gillian was diagnosed a few years ago with bowel cancer. She was pretty upbeat – last July she texted me to say “Chemo not working so tablets stopped. Liver function worse. Got to get on and enjoy slow but active life for as long as possible”. And in late August she told me she was off to Lourdes. She’d always been a great supporter of Handicapped Childrens Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT) as in this picture from 1981.

Gillian at the Cowdray Arms, 1981
Passing Cowfold Church, 1981- HCPT hat
Leaving Burpham Church at the start of the 1982 Papal Pilgrimage
Gillian with Margaret Nicholls and Geraldine O’Leary later on the Papal Pilgrimage, 1982
Gillian on the cliffs between Hythe and Dover, 1990 St Richard 2 Pilgrimage
Alongside the Thames in Ocfordshire, 1989 St Richard 1 Pilgrimage

May she rest in peace.

AUTUMN 2019 NEWSLETTER with plans for 2020

Hi Everybody,

Welcome to this Autumn 2019 Newsletter which includes details of our recent AGM and Reunion as well as details of our forthcoming…2020 PILGRIMAGES!

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

We recently held our AGM and I would like to thank all those who attended and helped to review the past year and plan for our next Pilgrimages.   Also many thanks again to all those who helped to make our main 2019 St Hilda’s Pilgrimage and our Guildford to Arundel Mini-Pilgrimage so enjoyable and successful.

We reminisced about our St Hilda’s Pilgrimage and remembered some of our favourite places.  The grandeur of Lincoln Cathedral where we were given a very interesting tour, saw the shrine of St Hugh, attended Evensong and given a special ‘setting off’ blessing after the Eucharistic Service.  The fun we had in the Wragby swimming pool, to walking through the beautiful villages in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Walking along the Viking Way and the Stephen Langton Trail.  Our rest day in Brigg with the market and heritage centre, and who could forget our Humber Bridge crossing when we endured almost gale force winds and driving rain.  We were so grateful to those in North Ferriby who put the heating on in their hall for us in August!  We continued on our way through the Yorkshire Wolds and just as in Lincolnshire marveled at the hard working farmers endeavouring to gather the harvest before the rains came. We walked through miles of sweetcorn and cereal fields and managed to dodge the muck spreading!  Beverley was a beautiful town and once again we were privileged to attend Evensong in the Minster. We would have liked to stay longer here.   Those who slept in the cathedral-like St Mary’s Parish Church experienced a very atmospheric night under the painted stars!  St John of Beverley – one of the five bishops trained by St Hilda, was remembered at Harpham Church were he grew up.  Our second rest day was in Bridlington – a traditional seaside resort.  Here we had a very interesting and energetic tour of the Priory and prayed at the shrine of St John of Bridlington.  We loved the welcoming window display from the ladies at Sherburn Methodist Church and the amazing 15thcentury wall paintings in Sts Peter and Paul Church in Pickering.   The North York Moors Railway with steam trains often present as we walked across the breath-taking moors and along the ‘monks trod’ in the Esk Valley.  That distant iconic view of Whitby’s ruined Abbey and the Church of St Mary and later our Arrival and Thanksgiving Service in St Mary’s and the 199 we processed up with our banner and pilgrim hymn witnessed by many in Whitby that day.  

These memories are just a snapshot so do look at the diary entries – edited by John Chenery – and Fr Tony’s Flicker pages to view photos to jog your memories.  

We voiced our appreciation to all the communities we walked through and to all the very welcoming people we met along the way.  We remember those at the halls, churches and schools we stayed in, the churches visited for prayers, masses, eucharistic services and evensong, to all those who provided tea and cake, the pubs and cafes who prepared food for us – some opening especially for us.  We gave donations to all the churches we visited for our prayer stops and some have sent lovely thank you messages of appreciation.

Many of our Committee Members have agreed to continue to help to prepare for our 2020 Pilgrimages and we are very thankful for their ongoing commitment. 

REUNION – DORKING

25-27 OCTOBER 2019

Many thanks to Fr Tony and John and Louise Chenery for hosting our Reunion at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dorking last weekend.   We all had a wonderful time and a very enjoyable walk albeit wet and muddy!!   Also to the parishioners for opening up their home and providing us with a delicious tea and to Aidan for the excellent slide show, which had us reminiscing again! 

SWANSEA TO HEREFORD

ST THOMAS’ PILGRIMAGE 

15-30 AUGUST 2020

Swansea to Hereford has been chosen for our 2020 main Pilgrimage.  We will be following and connecting up the St Thomas Way circular walks devised by Hereford Cathedral to mark the 700-year Anniversary of the Cannonisation of St Thomas Cantilupe.   Inspiration for these walks was taken from the story of William Cragh a medieval warrior who in 1290 was hung just outside Swansea for rebelling against Edward I by apparently killing 13 men.  Cragh was then miraculously brought back to life, which he attributed to St Thomas.  Cragh together with the Norman Lord who condemned him made a Pilgrimage from Swansea to Hereford to give thanks to St Thomas for giving him back his life. It was this miracle as well as many others that persuaded the Pope to make Thomas Cantilupe a saint. To find out more please go to: 

 https://www.herefordcathedral.org › st-thomas-way and thomasway.ac.uk

We will start our Pilgrimage in Swansea at the Catholic Cathedral of St Joseph and hope to visit and as well as stay in some of the communities of Margam, Elwenny, Llantwit Major, Llancarfan, St Fagans and Cardiff, Caerphilly, Newport, Usk, Abergavenny, Patrishow, Llanthony, Longtown and Clodock, Ewyas Harold and Abbey Dore, Kilpeck and Belmont Abbey, and Hereford where we will complete our Pilgrimage at the Shrine of St Thomas in Hereford Cathedral.

Your Committee are busy route planning and visiting the areas to assess and book halls for our accommodation.  Rest days will be in Cardiff and Abergavenny and there will be a full Celebration Day in Hereford on the 29 August before travelling home on the 30 August. 

MINI PILGRIMAGE 

ARUNDEL TO GUILDFORD CATHEDRALS

8-10 MAY 2020

We had such a successful and enjoyable Mini-Pilgrimage this year that we have decided to repeat this again in reverse staying at Duncton and Chiddingfold. You will see that the dates for the first 2020 May Bank Holiday weekend have been moved to the Friday 8 May – Sunday 10 May to mark the 75thAnniversary of Victory in Europe Day – VE Day.

Further details of both the main and mini Pilgrimages will be posted on this website once we have booked our accommodation and confirmed our route.  

In the meantime please let John Chenery know if you would like to lead a walk or let me know if you have any particular skills and feel that you would be able to help us with some of the organisation for our forthcoming Pilgrimages.  Contact can be made via this website.

God Bless.

Chris Nussbaum – Coordinator