Friday, 7 July 2017
To be a pilgrim
From Tuesday until Friday this week I have been at Rydal Hall, Grasmere with 40 women from the five northern districts (Shetland, Scotland, Newcastle, Darlington and Cumbria) leading a retreat about pilgrimage. Not so much about how to do pilgrimage as about how to adopt “Pilgrim Attitudes” in our lives. Our mornings have been spent in study, reflection, discussion and some silence on these themes.
Rydal Hall is a wonderful venue set in beautiful grounds (with its own waterfall) and the surrounding area has also offered opportunities to walk “in the footsteps of the poets and writers”, with visits on Wednesday afternoon to places associated with Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
On Thursday afternoon groups ventured out in different directions to experience the “Sacred Centre” of our pilgrimage together, some walked to St. Bega’s Chapel, others visited Allen Bank, some chose to remain in Rydal Hall’s own quiet garden.
I was part of a small group making a mini-pilgrimage to the nearby Rydal Cave, which was indeed cavernous. Great to stop to pray, sing and reflect along the way – then there were the unexpected encounters with people along the way including a Methodist from Maryland, USA and a family whose roots were in Methodism in Roker and who were amazed to discover that members of our group also originated there! Coincidences? Serendipity? The Holy Spirit?
Our Cumbrian hosts have been assembling a Fellowship Quilt for some years, started through their strong partnership connections with Methodist women in Argentina, and this time the “visiting” districts were invited to bring squares along to contribute. I was delighted to discover that the making of my Methodist Tartan kilt (my wonderful gift from the Methodist Church in Scotland) had created the opportunity for the Scottish women to purloin a square of this tartan as their contribution - and very smart it looks too!
Our final morning at Rydal Hall began with an unplanned gathering in the courtyard as the fire alarm sounded at 6:40am. Thankfully no fire and no rain, so an opportunity for grace and fellowship!
On Saturday I will be attending the Memorial Service for Pauline Webb in Wesley’s Chapel, London – a great privilege to do so – more of this in due course.
Posted by Methodist Church Webeditor at 09:51