Invitation to join Bishop Chris on his pilgrimage from St Germans to St Michael’s Mount
Bishop Chris will be travelling the length of Cornwall next month as he takes part in a pilgrimage which will start at St Germans on 31st March and end 12 days later at St Michael’s Mount on 12th April.
He explains the challenge and his reasons for taking part in the letter below:
“Pilgrimage is nothing new but it is again attracting increasing numbers of people from within the Christian Church and beyond.
Ancient pilgrimage routes are being rediscovered, and new ones created. The modern world is rediscovering this ancient wisdom and rebranding it as mindfulness. What is it all about? Well I’m sure the best answer to that is ‘come and see’, and join me as I travel from St Germans Priory to St Michael’s Mount between March 31 and April 13. You don’t have to come the whole way – join me for a day, or part of a day. You can see my itinerary below:
Friday 31st March – St Germans to Downderry (via Sheviock) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Saturday 1st April – Downderry to Schlerder Abbey (via Looe, Talland) – 19km/ 11.9 miles
Sunday 2nd April – Schlerder Abbey to Polkerris (via Lanteglos, Polruan, Fowey) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Monday 3rd April – Polkerris to Luxulyan (via Tywardreath, St Blazey) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Tuesday 4th April – Luxulyan to Withiel (via Lanivet) – 15km/ 9.4 miles
Wednesday 5th April – Withiel to Little Petherick (via St Issey) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Thursday 6th April – Little Petherick to St Eval (via Padstown, Trevone, St Merryn) – 14km/ 8.1 miles
Friday 7th April – St Eval to St Columb Minor (via St Mawgan) – 13km/ 8.1 miles
Saturday 8th April – St Columb Minor to Cubert (via Newquay, Crantock) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Sunday 9th April – Cubert to Perranporth (via Oratory) – 11km/ 6.9 miles
Monday 10th April – Perranporth to Portreath (via St Agnes) – 16km/ 10 miles
Tuesday 11th April – Portreath to Lelant (via Gwithian, Phillack, St Elwyn) – 19km/ 11.9 miles
Wednesday 12th April – Lelant to St Michael’s Mount (via St Ives, Ludgvan, Marazion) – 20km/ 12.5 miles
What is the appeal? For me pilgrimage is an experience of body, mind and spirit. As humans we are all of these things, and more besides. So we feel most alive and ourselves when each different aspect of us is engaged in an activity. That for me is what pilgrimage can be.
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
There is the joy of walking itself, that simple action for which our bodies have long been designed. Becoming aware of my body, its twinges, aches and pains, the sense of balance, the feel of the air on my skin and the sense of progress through a landscape are a life-giving reconnection with nature and my own physicality.
Then there is the mental stimulus of beauty perceived, especially the mundane beauty that lies unnoticed around me most of the time, a wild flower blossoming in a Cornish hedge, the sound and the colours of the sea as it meets the land. Add to this the fascination of old ways. Coming to ancient churches hunkered down into the Cornish earth or silhouetted on the distant hillside. Discovering the stories of the holy men and women who lived, built and made their mark here remembered in place names and holy wells. This gets me thinking about my own life and the mark I may leave. And being open to the elements with nothing to shield me from the vagaries of the weather. That heightens my senses and makes me more attentive to wind and cloud and the changing light.
And then in the silence and solitude of the path and the ancient sanctuary I can listen, truly listen for the whisper of God. That still, small, personal voice so hard to discern amidst the noise and bustle of ‘normal’ life but here found unexpectedly and delightedly. Often in places where people have come and prayed and lived out their discipleship in lives of service to God and to others. That is where once again I hear the call back to him who made me and loves me and walks with me every step of the way if I but take time to notice. Of course, Jesus was a walker. Notice how often things happen to him along the way between one place and next, in which conversation blooms and minds open to the truth.
That is what pilgrimage means to me and I’m keen to encourage others to try it for themselves. Come and join me.”
If you would like to join Bishop Chris on part of his pilgrimage please click here for more information: Join Bishop Chris on the Pilgrimage of Cornwall