I hope you are all managing to stay well and safe during these strange times and have managed to get out on some walks in the lovely sunny weather we have had for most of the Summer.
It is extremely disappointing that we have not been able to meet up for our Saint Thomas Pilgrimage. By now we would have been in Abergavenny for our rest day having walked through the beautiful Welsh countryside, towns and villages from Swansea to Margam, Elwenny, Llancarfan, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Newport and Usk. Then on to Longtown, Ewyas Harold and Hereford. We have not missed out completely as your Committee have provionally rebooked the entire St Thomas Pilgrimage for Saturday 14th – Sunday 29th August 2021. The communities we would have been visiting this year were, like us, very disappointed but are looking forward to welcoming us next year.
In the meantime, we have our AGM on Sunday 20th September 2020. This will be an online Zoom meeting and I do hope that as many of you as possible will be able to log in and join us. Further details of how to log in together with the Agenda and the 2019 Minutes will follow.
Your Committee would also like to organise a day walk to take place on a Saturday at the end of September or beginning of October in the Dorking area with a service for deceased pilgrims at St Joseph’s Catholic Church. It is hoped that those who would not be able to attend could join the service via Zoom. The walk will be organised for 30 pilgrims walking in small, socially distanced groups. A date and further details will follow.
It would be lovely to hear from you so please do post your comments about how you’ve been fairing and perhaps add a memorable moment from a past pilgrimage.
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.
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…
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage