New initiative exploring pilgrimage and religious life launching
17 March 2023
James Shelton a Curate serving in Harleston and across the Earsham benefice explains more.
Here in the Waveney Valley, we’re preparing to launch a new ministry, Pilgrims, on Saturday 27 May.
Inspired by ‘The Via Beata’ pilgrim way and All Hallows’ convent in Ditchingham, Pilgrims will alternate between a pilgrim walk on the last Saturday of the month and a gathering at the convent chapel on the first Wednesday evening of the month.
In both settings, companions will be invited to explore the spirituality of pilgrimage and the monastic life of prayer, considering how these approaches to the Christian journey might inform life as a follower of Jesus today.
Pilgrimage has been a wonderful feature in my own life. As well as the simple joy of adventuring amidst the natural world, pilgrimage is profoundly spiritual and speaks into the everyday life of faith and discipleship. For example, the pilgrim learns to sift through their possessions, carrying only what is necessary and letting go of burdens that weigh down.
The simplicity of each day creates space to pay attention, noticing the beauty of the surroundings and in every moment. Meanwhile, fellow travelers become a gift for mutual sharing and generosity. Walking long distances daily is also a significant test of physical, mental, and spiritual perseverance – and this inevitably prompts the pilgrim to consider the source of their security and dependence. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11.28-29).
All are warmly invited to join the Pilgrims launch on Saturday 27 May. The day will begin with a simple Morning Prayer service at All Hallows’ convent in Ditchingham, followed by a day-long walk to Great Moulton church. Here the day will conclude with a short service of blessing and thanksgiving, led by the Bishop of Norwich – and author of ‘The Way Under Our Feet’ – Graham Usher.
If you’re excited to learn more and would like to come along, please email James.
Further information about Pilgrims is available at earshambenefice.org.uk/pilgrims, where you can sign up to receive regular newsletter updates direct to your inbox.
God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we give thanks for the many lives changed and transformed by an encounter with you whilst on pilgrimage. Give us the wisdom to draw on your ancient ways in our lives today and bless ‘The Via Beata’; that it would truly be ‘A Way of Blessing’ for many. Amen.