A bishop is a permanent pilgrim, always on the move, always moving around the Diocese from church to church. The bishop’s staff, or crozier, sometimes feels more like a pilgrim’s walking stick than a shepherd’s crook. But even as a shepherd’s crook it symbolises movement – a travelling shepherd leading a travelling flock. Listening to people talking about pilgrimage, in this Season of Pilgrimage, and in this time of radical change and enforced migration in the world, the idea of living as a pilgrim makes more and more sense to me, and maybe to you as well.
During the next year I will be trying to live this out a little more intentionally. For the next year, I hope to come as a pilgrim to each of the churches of the Diocese, not just on Sundays for worship, but on other days too. Every month I will be coming to join clergy and congregation members on a little pilgrimage in each place. It could be to a holy or historic place, or to communities and people. I hope it will become a pilgrimage from place to place, and from person to person.
And as I go, with others, on this Pilgrim’s Progress, we will be praying for people whose ‘pilgrimage’ has not been chosen – the millions of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and countries, and the millions more whose terrible journeys through horror and war cannot be imagined.
Like every pilgrim, I expect to learn a lot from this Pilgrim’s Progress, and I hope that those in each place who come with me will also find it is a new way of looking at where they live and worship, and at the world. I also hope we will all learn more about our Diocese, through the photos and videos we will share on the website and fb page over the course of the year.
If you or your church would like to travel with me as pilgrims when the Pilgrim’s Progress comes your way, or if you have suggestions of places and people I can come to on the Pilgrimage, please do get in touch. And please pray for me, and anyone who joins me in each place:
God of pilgrims,
be for us our companion on the walk,
our guide at the crossroads,
our breath in weariness,
our protection in danger,
our shelter on the way,
our light in darkness,
our consolation in discouragement,
and our strength day by day.
Click HERE to follow his progress!