Church Walking Pilgrimages
Walking for spiritual revival, resting overnight in Churches
“This is an initiative that encourages discovery, engagement and reconnection with the natural world … Pilgrimage and the spirit of welcome deserve to be revived and have a relevance to all regardless of whether they have a religious faith or not.” (Mark T Jones)
Pilgrimage is a walk, of days, weeks, or months, time enough to get into a different state of mind and body, step by step, day by day. Pilgrimage is about the walk not the destination. Do it and see what happens.
Go simply (without car or back up support), buy food as you go, carry your bed roll, sleeping bag, maps and, maybe, a book.
More and more churches are providing over night sanctuaries for walking pilgrims, a place for pilgrims to lay out their bed roll for one night, a toilet and water point. We would welcome more, please join the movement.
Ditchingham Convent, on the Via Beata pilgrim route and home to the Emmaus Project, announced in September 2023 that it has received Heritage Lottery Funding to restore the Convent buildings and provide B and B accommodation for 32 guests. This will provide another overnight place for pilgrims on the route and an important prayerful place for walkers. https://emmaus.org.uk/norfolk-waveney/renovating-the-all-hallows-refectory/
Muchelney Church near Glastonbury will be a pilgrim sanctuary, just as soon as their toilet is finished. Go to 'A Church Near You' for details. We hope the pilgrim routes and sanctuaries in Somerset and surrounds will grow and develop from this.
What Pilgrims was launched on 27 May 2023, at Ditchingham Convent, Norfolk. What: Pilgrims is a new initiative exploring the spirituality of pilgrimage and the monastic life, considering how these can inform life as a follower of Jesus today. Please see link at bottom of page
The Via Beata Way, Lowestoft to St Davids, 380 miles, 2023 celebration of 900 years of pilgrimage to St Davids. May 2023 church sanctuaries are largely in place from Lowestoft to Worcester, and more now to the west of Worcester to St Davids. Marden in Herefordshire, a special pilgrim church on the r Lugg can now offer sanctuary, filling a gap. We are still a little short of sanctuaries in the Midlands around Warwick. It is hoped these gaps will soon be filled. Please go to the map on this site for details
Blog; One pilgrim walking the Via Beata from June 27 to July 14 2022. Via Beata Newsletter (link bottom of page).
Blog on making a compost toilet (March 2022)
Herefordshire Diocese launched the Golden Valley Pilgrim Way at the Hereford Walking Festival June 21 2021, a five to six day walk, with churches as resting and focus points. The Golden Valley Pilgrim Way is ready to receive pilgrims NOW with six churches accommodating over night stays and more planned. Please navigate to Routes pages for more details.
Interview with church warden on How to Provide Overnight Sanctuary in Your Church.
This is a lovely initiative ... sanctuaries bring back the meaning of a church and network of churches as nodes of hospitality that can punctuate our pilgrim lives. (Alistair McIntosh)
… Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries!
Elizabeth Barrett Browning