This Month's Message

Harpley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life is my Message." Mahatma Gandhi

Revd. Jane Holmes

Team Rector

                                                                            

 

 


June 2018

Sun, Sand and Sore Feet!

Some of you may know that I am going to be away from the parishes for three whole months this summer on Sabbatical.  However I will be back at the end of August! 

A Sabbatical is granted after a number of years in ministry and is given as a time for ‘reflection and refreshment’ - in particular ‘spiritual refreshment.’

So what will I be doing with this precious time?  Lots of sun and sand I hope – with not too many blisters on my poor feet - I hope and pray!  I will be undertaking several ‘pilgrimages’ involving long distance walking across some of the UKs most stunning countryside and coastlands.  Hiking and hill walking is a popular hobby for many people and has long been a favourite pastime of mine – so – on with the boots and off I go. 

You may wonder, what is the difference between a long distance walk and a pilgrimage?  After all when you look at the pilgrim road on the one hand and at a hiking track on the other, they’re essentially the same.  There’s a track, you walk, you carry your stuff, you meet other people.  The main difference is that a pilgrimage has a special place at the end, there’s a more or less fixed trail, there’s a religious context and there is both an outer and an inner spiritual journey.

When Christians go on pilgrimage they travel somewhere that is special to their faith.  It might be to places written about in the Bible, such as where Jesus and the early Christians lived.  It may be to a place where a miracle is said to have once happened or to where a saintly person has lived, worked or is buried.  Importantly, the journey itself matters as much as arriving in the special place, because it gives the pilgrim (the person on the journey) time to pray and to think.  It’s an important part of spiritual life for many Christians as we leave behind everyday concerns and spend time in the presence of God.

Over the years places have become special for different reasons and because of different people.  On my journeys this summer I will visit the tiny island of Iona off the West Coast of Scotland sometimes called ‘The cradle of Christianity’.  

I will also journey (walking of course!) to the parish church at Eyam, Derbyshire where in 1665-1666 the heroism of the villagers is still remembered when they listened to their vicar and pledged to ‘stay put’ and endure the plague rather than flee and infect the surrounding area.  276 people in the village died – including the vicars wife.

God (and feet) willing I will complete Cuthbert’s Way a walk of some 70 odd miles across country to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland where in 635AD Saint Aidan came from Iona and founded his monastery. The Christian message flourished from there and spread throughout the world. 

These will be some of my special places and I hope that my visits will bring me close to God and to myself.  I also hope and pray that you too will find special places to visit this summer on your own journeys.

Bon Voyage & Much Love

Revd Jane


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