Starting at Aylsham Parish Church, fellow pilgrims led by the Bishop Graham, began the Prayer Pilgrimage at the War Memorial in Aylsham, followed by a walk around Aylsham’s beautiful Market Place; visiting the Country Market, local funeral directors, nursing home and bakers to collect bread for the midday Eucharist.
After a visit to St Michael’s Church of England VA Primary School, where the Bishop led collective worship, the pilgrimages joined one of Aylsham Parish Church’s newest venture; New Brew Wellbeing Café. The Café offers a space for anyone to just relax, chat and drink coffee in a safe friendly space. It was then off walking to the Aylsham Care Trust to hear about their work with the elderly and isolated in the area, before climbing aboard the vintage bus, which headed towards Cawston.
The bus arrived at Cawston Church of England Primary Academy where the pilgrims were treated to some wonderful singing and a moving story from the Bishop. The pilgrims then headed off to Broadland Winery where tea, coffee, cakes and wine were laid on by the staff of the winery, one of Cawston’s largest employers. Collecting wine for the midday Eucharist, Bishop Graham then walked along Marrotts Way to Cawston Parish Church and before taking the bus to Reepham.
Using the bread from Aylsham and wine from Cawston the Bishop celebrated the Eucharist with a group of around 60 people in Reepham Parish Church before lunch was served in the fantastically restored St Michael’s. Climbing back onto the bus, the pilgrimage then headed to Reepham College where students inspired everyone with their passion for their Allotment Project.
Bishop Graham said;
“We prayed in places that don’t usually have much public prayer – I won’t forget standing on the floor of the proposed eco-classroom in the middle of the school allotment!”
The next leg of the journey then went to Bawdeswell Parish Church and a short walk to the stunning village hall where more tea and cake was served.
From there the pilgrimage headed back across the breadth of the Deanery to Coltishall. Stopping on the banks of the River Bure the Bishop lead us in Evening Prayer accompanied by an accordion and trumpet.
This was an occasion to see all that happens in the rural towns and villages of the deanery, how churches are so often at the heart of communities, and praying for and seeing God’s blessings in abundance.
Revd Canon Andrew Beane said;
“Spending time walking and talking together as we explore the communities that make up our Deaneries allowed us to see just how much is going on and how much life there is in our rural parishes. God is clearly at work in the countryside in so many different ways and in so many difference places.”
Revd Andrew Whitehead said;
“The pilgrimage provided a unique opportunity to visit so many of our small communities. It was a real privilege to meet with so many people and to share part of their story. The day has really helped me to gain new insights about our local area; opening up some of the tiny village communities that we usually just drive through.”
Revd Chris Englesen said;
“It was great to see a good number of people gathered locally at each village.”