The first Coventry Pilgrimage 2018 walk on Saturday March 31st began with a sending-out service at St Laurence, Meriden, arranged and led by the Revd Lynda Lilley. This included a greeting and message of encouragement from Bishop John (also on this website). About 25 pilgrims – some experienced, some for whom it was a new venture – then set out in good spirits, fortified by hot cross buns and hot chocolate, on what was to prove a rain-soaked walk, negotiating muddy fields and standing water.
A welcome respite with refreshments was provided by the good people of St John, Berkswell, after the first leg of the pilgrimage. At noon, we paused to say the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation together. Our journey ended with the welcome sight of Burton Green Village Hall, where members of the Burton Green congregation of Westwood Church, who meet at the village hall, were ready and waiting to supply further refreshments and a place to begin the drying out process.
Despite the inclement weather and challenging conditions, the pilgrims were glad to be walking together and are looking forward to the next stage of the pilgrimage on April 28th.
Bishop John sent this message to the pilgrims:
It is wonderful to hear news of Coventry Pilgrimage 2018. It is especially good to know that it is happening in this Centenary year of the Diocese of Coventry. Walking and walking together bring huge benefit both spiritually and physically. Again and again in the pages of the New Testament we find Jesus walking from place to place and we see the life changing encounters of those who call out to him or come to him as he walks.
Pilgrimage, or walking with God in mind, puts us back in touch with the spaciousness and beauty of God’s creation and gives space for conversations with our fellow pilgrims as we walk side-by-side, conversations that might never happen if we were not walking. It is good too, as we walk, to take moments to stop, to breathe in deeply and slowly the fresh air of God’s creation and to breathe in the fresh air of the Holy Spirit. It gives opportunities to pray silently as we walk and to pray for and with each other.
This comes with my prayers, and those of Bishop Christopher, for each and all of you as you walk today and on the other Saturdays of pilgrimage. We pray for refreshment in body, mind and spirit and that you may know the presence of the One who walks with you each step of your journey through life. We pray with you too for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon us and among us that we might witness to the love of Christ, our Lord and the Lord.
29th March 2018