On Monday I had the privilege of flying out to the Holy Land as one of the co-leaders of the Cumbria Ecumenical Pilgrimage, together with Rt Rev James Newcome (Bishop of Carlisle) and the Revd Richard Teal (Cumbria Methodist District Chair) and our organiser Rev Rob Jackson. Only travelling from Manchester to the airport I did not envy the 2 coach loads of pilgrims who set off from Whitehaven at 2:45am and Barrow at 3:15am on a tour to pick up fellow pilgrims across the county of Cumbria.
Our first full day took in Magdala, Nazareth and Cana. A true Christian pilgrim seeks change, the journey being as important as the arrival. Pilgrimage acts as a metaphor for the Christian journey, and so our journey through the Holy Land is unhurried and full of encounters. Not least is the encounter with our 75 fellow pilgrims (the snapshot was kindly taken by Kim, with me together with other members of our Cumbrian URCs l to r: Anne Dick, Ruth Mills, Jennifer Cassells, Margaret Baker).
The second image shows us with Mary, our guide at Magdala, showing us the remarkable discover of the 1st century synagogue beside the Sea of Galilee – acting not only as our guide to the archaeology but also as our spiritual guide and ministering to us in prayer.
Please pray for:
the pilgrims’ experience of Christ in the land of his birth and ministry, and the moving of God’s Spirit changing us through the journey
strong bonds of fellowship to be formed between leaders and pilgrims which are part of the Cumbrian experience and themselves act as a sign of all that God is doing within the county of Cumbria
the preparations for the ecumenical mission “Moving Mountains 2018” when next March Bishops (and the Archbishop of York), Methodist District Chairs, and Moderators all with their small teams arrive in Cumbria as a gift to support a week of mission in the county
the strengthening of ecumenical relationships by church leaders in your Synod Area, and for the increased willingness for a partnership in the Gospel between congregations in your locality.
your own pilgrimage where you are, as you come to know Christ more and as you make Christ known.