Pilgrimage – Part 3

Where to go on your Pilgrimage.

You can make your pilgrimage anywhere but there is something special about walking a path that has been well trodden by others. Here are some suggestions for recognised walks that you might like to try.

  • Abbey Trail – Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds to Whitby Abbey, Whitby, 116 miles
  • St Albans Way – Waltham Abbey, Essex to St Alban’s Cathedral, St Albans, 25 miles
  • The Way of St Andrews – Eight Pilgrimage Ways across Scotland each finishing at St Andrews Cathedral.
  • Augustine Camino – St Andrew’s Cathedral, Rochester to The Shrine of St Augustine, Ramsgate, 68 miles
  • St Bega’s Way – St Bee’s Priory on the Cumbrian Coast to the Church of St Bega on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake, 36 miles

    Pilgrimage - St Bega's Church, Bassenthwaite, Cumbria

    St Bega’s Church, Bassenthwaite

  • Bridlington Priory – Beverley Minster to Bridlington Priory, 37 miles
  • St Birinus Pilgrimage Walk – A circular walk around Wallingford, Oxfordshire, 25 miles
  • The Borders Abbey’s Way – A circular walk passing 4 historic abbeys in Scottish Border towns, 64.5 miles
  • Our Lady Of Caversham Pilgrimage – Windsor to Caversham, 35 miles
  • St Cedd’s Pilgrimage – A figure of eight walk starting and finishing at St Peter’s Church, Southminster, Essex, 22 miles
  • The Cistercian Way – Four routes around Wales linking all of the Cistercian abbeys, 650 miles
  • Cornish Celtic Way – Priory Church, St Germans to St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, 125 miles
  • St Cuthbert’s Way – Melrose Abbey, Melrose, Scotland to Lindesfarne, Northumberland 62.5 miles
  • St Edmund Way – Manningtree, Essex to Brandon, Norfolk, 79 miles
  • Essex Priory Way – Point Clear to St Botolph’s Priory, Colchester, 20 miles

    St Botolphs Priory, Colchester

    St Botolphs Priory, Colchester

  • The John Bunyan Trail – A circular walk from Bedford in memory of the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, 86 miles
  • John Schorne Peregrination – A walk around Buckinghamshire in memory of a holy man said to have trapped Satan in a boot, 27 miles
  • St Magnus Way – A walk across mainland Orkney inspired by St Magnus, 55 miles
  • Paulinus Way – Todmorden on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border to York, 87 miles
  • Peak Pilgrimage – Ilam, Staffordshire to St Lawrence Parish Church, Eyam, Derbyshire, 39 miles
  • Pilgrims Way – Winchester to Canterbury,
  • The Thames Pilgrim Way – Radcot Bridge, Oxfordshire to the Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymede, Surrey, 104 miles
  • Two Saints Way – Chester Cathedral to Lichfield Cathedral, 92 miles

We have not completed these walks ourselves, but as we do, or as other 2:52 Challenge members do, we will tell you about our experiences.

 

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Pilgrimage – Part 2

We have always found it beneficial to take young people outside of the confines of the church hall or youth centre. In the fresh air and without the pressure of mobile phones and a set programme there is room for relaxed conversation, exercise and adventure. At 2:52 Challenge we use pilgrimage as one way of doing that.

We recommend that all 2:52 Challenge participants take part in a pilgrimage while completing level 1 of the programme. We suggest a minimum of two days walking (or cycling/rowing etc.) and an overnight stay either camping or staying in a youth hostel or church. The distance will depend on the ability of the group.

Young people are asked to organise the pilgrimage themselves and if they are not going to visit a church, chapel or cathedral on their way we ask that they include a spiritual element to the journey. We also recommend that part of the journey is made in silence. Even just a 20 minute part of the journey, made in silence, allows time for personal reflection.

There are many other reasons why we include pilgrimage in our programme.

  • Some of the young people that have attended 2:52 Challenge have never spent time in the countryside and a pilgrimage is a great way to introduce them to the wonders of God’s creation.
  • We include an outdoor skills challenge in the 2:52 Challenge programme that includes learning to read maps, read a compass, make a fire and cook outdoors. The pilgrimage helps group members put into practice the new skills that they are learning.
  • Working together to plan the pilgrimage develops planning, organisational and teamwork skills.
  • Walking is a great way to improve fitness levels.
  • Talking with fellow walkers that they meet along the way develops social skills.
  • Our world is so fast moving and noisy that time out, without wifi, tv and even a phone signal helps the young people find a slower pace of life.

We also feel that an overnight stay is important. Young people will often open up into the evening and you can have some great open and honest conversations.

Asking the young people to write down what they hope to get out of their pilgrimage before setting off, and then reviewing their notes after the trip, is a great way to keep focussed and open up further discussion.

 

Pilgrimage – Part 1

Image

We have chosen to include pilgrimage in our youth programme and I will explain why next week. This week I will give you a little bit of background about what I understand about pilgrimage.

The dictionary describes pilgrimage as a journey, especially a long one, made to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.

The Beginning of Pilgrimage

The Bible is littered with stories of long journeys to sacred places or that have a deeper spiritual meaning.

  • The story of Abraham journeying in the promise of new lands and numerous descendants.
  • The story of the Exodus and the Israelite nation walking through the wilderness for 40 years in penance for their lack of faith. On this journey they are strangers in the land. They see hardship and God’s provision and this is often seen as reflection for our own Christian lives as we journey through life towards heaven.
  • Then when Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem it became a requirement for all male Israelites to make the journey there for Passover, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Booths. Many years later, we read about Jesus, at only 12 years old, making the 85 mile journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem (and another 85 miles back again) as an act of pilgrimage to celebrate the passover.
  • Jesus spent 40 days wandering in the wilderness, a time of solitude, a time to wrestle with the enemy and time to prepare for a new part of his life.
  • The journey that Jesus took, to Jerusalem and then to the cross and onto the Garden of Gethsemane is accompanied by incredible suffering and injustice but climaxes with salvation and new life.

After Pentecost, God no longer resided only in the Temple in Jerusalem. He was now available everywhere and the need for pilgrimage to a sacred place was no longer necessary. It was the Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century, who was used to pagan practices, who created a ‘Holy Land’ and a network of shrines and relics for Christians to visit and to touch. This has created controversy ever since because why would you need to travel to encounter God when he is everywhere.

Potted History Of Pilgrimage In The UK

Over the centuries, pilgrimage in the UK has gone in and out of fashion. From the early Anglo Saxons Christians believed that life was pilgrimage, a journey from birth to death. Many also practised pilgrimage to holy sites in the UK and overseas.

The reformation was a watershed time for pilgrimage. In the 1500’s It was declared that all pilgrimages should be stopped as they were not good, the Bible does not command us take part in a pilgrimage and they gave people an opportunity to sin! Many English shrines, statues and relics were destroyed or discredited. For protestants, journeying to a holy place stopped and instead, people focussed on an inner pilgrimage. This inner journey focussed on life as a pilgrimage and pilgrimage themes began to emerge in writings. John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress is a good example of this.

Journeys to Rome or Jerusalem continued but focussed far more on a cultural experience than a spiritual one.

Curiosity for travel increased in the 1800s fuelled by archeological discoveries in Egypt and Israel. This was less about pilgrimage and more about tourism. Then in 1869 Thomas Cook took his first tour to the Holy Land and began to popularise modern tourism. By the early 1900s, sacred sites in the UK were again attracting large numbers of visitors. Places like Iona, Canterbury and Walsingham among the most popular. Some cathedrals also revived the notion of issuing pilgrim badges to visiting pilgrims.

Today believers and non-believers alike journey to churches, cathedrals and other holy places for all manner of reasons. Pilgrims and tourists rub shoulders with each other to experience the atmosphere of holy places.

 

Tips For Hosting A Great Fundraising Event

You know you need to do some fundraising but are not sure where to start. Here are a few tips to make sure your event goes well.

Plan

It is often said that if you fail you plan, you plan to fail. So before you do anything else, get planning.

Think about:

  • What event you are going to do
  • What resources you will need
  • Where you are going to host your event
  • When you are going to hold your event
  • Who you are going to invite to your event
  • Who you can ask to help you with this event
  • How you are going to ensure that this event is profitable

Think also about ways that you can boost sales and increase profits e.g. if you are hosting a coffee morning, in addition to selling cakes perhaps you could put together a recipe book and sell that or have some second-hand books available for sale.

Food

If you are hosting an event that includes food, choose a menu that is going to be popular. It will be much harder to sell tickets to an event that includes food that no one likes.

If you are fundraising for your Overseas Experience why not offer food themed around the country that you are going to visit.

Use fresh, good quality food and try to offer alternatives for people with allergies or food intolerances.

Promotion

Think about how you are going to promote your event. Do not be shy about letting people know what you are doing, when and where.

If you are on social media use all of your networks to tell people you know about your event. Begin at least six weeks before and remind your contacts at least weekly about your event. Try to use different types of messages, a mixture of photos, videos, slideshows, live events will keep people interested.

Offline, make posters, banners or flyers and ask friends or family to distribute them among their own contacts.

Keep reminding people what you are fundraising for. Tell them about the country you are visiting, the project that you will be helping and the people that will benefit because of your visit.

Sales

Be prepared to answer questions about anything you are selling and about where you are going. Know your ‘sales pitch’ inside out and rehearse it before the event.

Use the words help and because… “Please help our cause by… .” or “We are fundraising because we need … .”

Politeness and clear explanations will increase positive answers from potential customers or donors.

Thank You

Don’t forget to thank people for attending/donating. Make it personal wherever you can and let them know how to find out about how your Overseas Experience has gone or how their donations have been spent.

 

Food Fundraising Ideas

Everyone has to eat, so if you are handy in the kitchen why not use your skills to raise some funds for your Get Overseas trip or your 2:52 Challenge group.

If you try any of these please let us know how you get on, how successful it was and how

  1. We love the name of this idea. Ask friends and family to create their own artwork (painting, sculptures, poems, anything) and hold a Noodles and Doodles Night. Display the artwork while you serve chicken noodles (or spagehetti) and sauce then hold a silent auction or fast live auction to sell off the artwork.
  2. Hold a Themed Dinner Party to mark Valentine’s Day, Easter, a Birthday, Eurovision Song Contest, New Year’s Eve or something else. Decorate the room and choose a menu that matches your theme. Charge friends to come or ask for a donation. You could even sell Romantic Dinners for Couples. If a posh dinner party is not your thing, you could hold a more relaxed Summer BBQ.
  3. Host a Chocolate Desserts Competition. Charge people for the privilege of tasting all of the treats and judging the best entrant. You can award prizes, hold a raffle and even have a live band to bring entertainment on the evening. Hold it near Easter or Valentines for maximum success.
  4. Celebrate the Joy of Puddings and invite people to come out for pudding. Make three or four puddings and charge people to try all of them throughout the evening.
  5. Host a bake sale or coffee morning. You could bake and sell Sweets for Someone Sweet. You could even deliver them locally.
  6. Make and sell flavoured popcorn. You can easily cook popcorn in a lidded pan on the hob if you don’t have a popcorn maker, add your own unique flavourings and sell packs. Do this as part of a larger event to maximise the money you are able to raise.
  7. Get Fruity by supplying fruit (or veg) to your friends or family. Take orders each week and then order from a local farm shop or fruit and vegetable distributor. You can collect or have the orders delivered for you to distribute.
  8. If you are a budding Master Chef, create a Recipe Book and sell it to friends and family. Why not think about making it a fairtrade recipe book? Sell it around Mother’s Day or Christmas. Why not set up a Recipe Swap? Cook up a number of dishes and host an evening to share and swap your favourite recipes.
  9. Get together with friends and prepare and sell different dishes from around the world on World Food Day, 16 October.
  10. Organise a simple lunch with a difference – a Rich Man, Poor Man Meal sees a small number of randomly chosen people get an upgrade from a simple lunch to a sit down meal to help demonstrate inequality in the world today.

All these Food fundraising ideas are pretty simple to run and can be really profitable…

Just make sure you use the ones that suit your skills and will be popular amongst your members and supporters!

William Carey

The story of William Carey, 1761-1834, is one that has inspired me and continues to inspire me to encourage others to take part in evangelism and mission. So I though I would share a little of it here with you.

Carey was born to a weaver’s family and lived as a child in the rural English village of Paulerspury, Northamtonshire and was taken on as an apprentice at a local cobbler’s shop. It was while learning to be a shoemaker that he grew a passion for the Christian faith and began to teach himself New Testament Greek. He also took a great interest in international affairs and the religious life of other cultures. Later, in 1781, he met and married Dorothy Plackett but the hard life of a shoemaker meant that the family lived in poverty. In 1785 they moved to Moulton where Carey become a schoolmaster — and a year later he became pastor of the small Baptist congregation there.

It was in Moulton that Carey heard the missionary call. It was as he was reading the Last Voyage of Captain Cook. To many it was a thrilling story of adventure, but to Carey it was a revelation of human need! He then began to read every book that had any bearing on the subject.

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:16-20

Carey was convinced that the Great Commission at the end of Matthew’s gospel should be applied to all Christians, of all times and he grew increasingly frustrated that other Christians were not taking this seriously.  He read, he made notes, he made a great leather globe of the world and, one day, in the quietness of his cobbler’s shop Carey heard the call: “If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavour to make it known among all nations.” And Carey sobbed out, “Here am I; send me!”

There were no missionary societies at the time and little support for missions. In fact at one minister’s meeting a Dr. Ryland shouted at Carey, “Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.” In 1792 Carey established his own missionary society and at its inaugural meeting preached a sermon with the call, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!” 

Within a year, Carey, his family and friend, John Thomas were on their way to India. The first few years were very hard, facing illness, struggling to earn enough money to feed and care for his family, John Thomas leaving the mission project, loneliness and regret. Carey lamented but held on to hope saying “But I have God, and his word is sure.” Carey’s faith was further tested when he contracted malaria, his five year old son died of dysentery and his wife had a mental breakdown and needed to be locked away and restrained.

For seven years Carey learned Bengali and preached illegally, then in 1799 he was invited to move to a Danish settlement near Calcutta where he was legally able to preach in the British controlled areas of the country. Slowly, others joined him, a printer and two teachers among them and in December 1800, Krishna Pal, Carey’s first convert was baptised. Just two months later Carey published the first Bengali New Testament, this was followed by whole bibles or parts of the bible being published in over 215 different languages.

Carey also wanted to see social reform in India and campaigned against infanticide, sati (burning widows when their husbands pass away) and assisted suicide. He also founded a divinity school which, today is still teaching theology to thousands of students each year.

When he died at 73 (1834), from his deathbed Carey called out to a missionary friend, “Dr. Duff! You have been speaking about Dr. Carey; when I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey — speak about Dr. Carey’s God.”

Carey really lived by his philosophy to expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God.