Welcome to the first, of what I hope will be many, Simple Pilgrim posts!
First of all, I must thank everyone for all the kind wishes and encouragement that I have been given. It has been absolutely amazing! The British Pilgrimages have really captured everyone's imagination, and there have been so many suggestions as to what pilgrimage we might do after "In Search of the Somerset Saints" (see the British Saints Section of the Website for details.). I never thought that I would be getting bookings for this before the formal launch of the Simple Pilgrim, but they are coming in, which is fantastic.
It turns out that staying close to home for the first of these pilgrimages was a wise move. As you know, Peter Barrett is leading them, and it has taken him weeks to work out the best route as he wanted to stay off road, and see as many interesting historical, and geographical, features as possible. Quite by accident I disovered that we have a local expert in Celtic Christianity, Liz Rees. She has advised us on places to visit connected with the Celtic Saints, who once sought out lonely places within the Somerset Levels. I have never been to the Avalon Marshes, but I am really looking forward to Peter guiding us through them. I may get some sense of what drew these Saints here. They are our very own version of the Desert Fathers!
As well as the British Pilgrimages, I will be offering the usual Pilgrimages abroad. It seems to me that Parishes sometimes struggle to organise these, so my objective is to work with Parishes, and make things happen. I have already organised for Downside Abbey, a Pilgrimage to Fatima in July next year, and also an 18/30 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, so much is already happening. I will just wait and see if any other Parishes would like to organise something, as it is so important that people experience a pilgrimage. Everyone is dashing about so much, that they just forget about Jesus. Hopefully these trips will give people the space that they so desperately need.
I could not have done any of this without help from many people, but I won't embarass them by naming them here! I would however like to share with you what will become the Simple Pilgrim Logo, created by Judith Gait. I hope that we will have some little badges made for pilgrims with the image upon it, and also use it in any publicity material. It is early days yet, and I have so many ideas. I feel, however, that everything will happen when the time is right!