St Peter & St Paul's Newsletter - June 2024

Letter from Revd Helen Burnett.

Parish Pilgrimage – a small glimpse of a big experience

4 days in a new landscape, walking with God, learning together.

Our pilgrimage this year had 21 walkers and for the first time to my great delight we were joined at the beginning and end by others who could not commit to the walking but felt called to explore with us. We had a fantastic church full of supporters and fellow worshippers at 8am on Sunday 12th.

June 2024 Pilgrims

Willing drivers ferried us to the train station and we made it to Durham in time for Evensong where we were joined by June Barber and her daughter Helen.

Relying on buses to get us to the start and to overcome a bridge closure caused some well placed anxiety but we eventually made it to the headland at Hartlepool and so began 2 days of walking through a very industrial landscape. This was in sharp contrast to our previous 5 pilgrim routes and gave rise to some deep
and painful encounters with the reality of our 21st century western lives. In spite of the oppressive surroundings we found hope in shared laughter and glimpses of God’s glory even in the most desecrated places.

On day 3 we left Teesside industrial and hit the coastline only to be deprived of a view for the rest of the pilgrimage by a heavy sea mist that engulfed us physically and spiritually.

The days were pretty long, averaging 15 miles, but always punctuated by prayer and by tea and cake provided by our fantastic back up man with a van.

After 3 nights sleeping on church floors we were glad of the fantastic hospitality of the nuns at
Whitby Priory where we were also joined by Rev Sara, Richard and Maria Foulkes who sharedher knowledge of St Hilda and played her beautiful lyre and harp.

Our final act of worship took place in the ruins of Whitby Abbey, we shed tears, shared peace and broke bread with friends and strangers.

Throughout our journey we were met by kindness and hospitality from the churches and places we visited and as we walked the generosity of those who sponsored us by donating made every step worthwhile not just for our own faith journeys but for the work for justice that is the vocation of Christian Aid.

Next year our Pilgrimage will take place between May 11th and 17th – save the date and join us if you can.