Your Committee met recently and again it is with great regret that owing to the ongoing Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic the decision was made to postpone both the Mini and August Pilgrimages arranged for this year until 2022.
This decision was not taken lightly and was based on the risk that could be posed especially with regards to pilgrims living in such close proximity to one another in our overnight accommodation. Also area lockdowns, the emergence of variants and problems with vaccine rollout are all possible. If we had to quarantine during our pilgrimage then we may find it difficult or even impossible to get home during that period.
The Mini Pilgrimage Arundel to Guildford has been postponed until the 29th April – 2nd May 2022 and the Swansea to Hereford St Thomas Pilgrimage will now take place on the 13th-28th August 2022.
We were all really looking forward to getting back together again and with this in mind we have a sub-committee working on organising a series of day walks from the 14th – 29th August 2021. It is envisaged that these will take place within the Arundel and Brighton Diocese and will probably follow the ‘Old Way’ routes as detailed on the British Pilgrimage Trust website. Pilgrims will have to arrange their own travel, food and accommodation if needed.
For those who live further afield it is hoped that small groups may be able to get together to arrange walks at the same time and for all diary entries and photos to be shared so that we still feel connected no matter the distance. If you think that you might be able to get a small group together in your area please let me know.
Details of these pilgrimage walks will be posted on this website towards the end of April.
We have recently learnt that Roger died in November after a long illness.
Roger walked with us between 2009 and 2014. He was a gentle, kind and enthusiatic pilgrim whose presence enhanced the pilgrimages that he took part in, particularly the spiritual side of the pilgrimage. He served as a church liaison officer. The other coordinators for these years and I were grateful for the general help and advice he gave.
This film follows Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Nicholas Schofield as they journey from London to Canterbury. Along the way they discover the story of St Thomas a Becket and some fascinating traditions: the Rood of Boxley, the splendour of Rochester, the ‘second Carmel’ at Aylesford and many more.
By retracing the steps of the medieval pilgrims, this film draws out the rich Christian heritage of England and reflects on what it means ‘To Be A Pilgrim’.
Thanks to Lesley Brennan for bringing this to our attention.
Mary Fuller has asked us to let pilgrims know that her husband Michael has died. He died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday morning, 17th December after a long illness (He had oesophagal cancer). Mary asks for prayers from the pilgrims.
Mary herself is unwell and doubly in our prayers at this time.
I do hope that you continue to keep well and safe.
At our recent AGM it was decided that although we have been unable to walk either of our planned pilgrimages this year, we would still like to hold our traditional service for deceased pilgrims. The date is Saturday 24th October at 3.00 pm at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dorking.
Fr Tony Milner, Parish Priest at St Joseph’s and our pilgrimage chaplain will preside. Pilgrims can decide to attend the service in person or to join remotely via Zoom. The service will also be filmed. Unfortunately restrictions mean that we will not be able to gather for tea afterwards.
Please email me at email@example.com to let me know if you wish to attend in person or via Zoom. Further details will be emailed to you next week.
We had hoped to organise a day walk but as Covid cases are increasing it was decided to wait until the situation improves.
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.
Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Ecumenical Walking Pilgrimage