Old Donation Episcopal Church
Greetings from one tired pilgrim. This was a day filled with …. praying, learning, walking, music and joy. We began at Canterbury cathedral with a service led by Father Bob and Father Fred in this incredible medieval chapel. Afterwards we divided into three groups for a tour lasting almost two hours.
We learned that in the early and Medieval Church cathedrals, everyone stood for services (think hard stone floors, little light and damp cold conditions). We continued our education at St. Martin’s and on to St. Augustine’s Abbey (incredible ruins from different time periods helping to explain English history). St. Martin’s is the oldest church with continuous worship in England. Evidence says it began in the Roman period, possibly as early as 300 AD. Today it continues an active ministry, about a 20 minute walk from Canterbury Cathedral. The Abbey was demolished by Henry VIII, but the ruins are impressive and help us understand Augustine’s monastic community.
But that’s not all, folks, for we hurried back to attend Evensong with the Canterbury boys and adult men’s choirs. They sang Ava Maria (it was like angels singing just for you). After dinner, we ended with our evening group reflections.
Father Bob asked us three questions this morning during his sermon: Who are you? Where are you going? How are getting there? I ask you to reflect on these three questions and pray for the Pilgrims as we continue to learn, reflect and God willing, have some answers.
God’s Peace, Linda McGraw
Today is day 2 for our pilgrims, since departures for most of the group were Wednesday from Old Donation. Chris and I have been here for a week, visiting the "North" of England and came down to Canterbury last night. The Walkers and Kuhns couples were already here and out enjoying the town when we checked in.
At 10:30 AM (UK TIME), Mike McGraw texted that the flight was on the ground at Heathrow. Around 3:00 the group was finally at the Cathedral and getting settled. We attended Choral Evensong. It was the first effort of this school year for the boys' choir and they were 'heavenly' -- including singing "The Lord is my shepherd" by Goodall -- which is the rendition of the 23rd Psalm which was the theme of the TV series, "Vicar of Dibley" and one which our own choir sings.
We had an excellent dinner with Bishop Richard Lewellin and finished with discussion and Compline. It has been a long day for all our travelers. But the best is yet to come. In the morning we will have an Opening Eucharist in the crypts of the Cathedral and truly begin our pilgrimage journey.
Our journey begins September 6 when we arrive in London and spend our first night in Canterbury. From then until we depart London on September 17, our group will spend time in iconic cathedrals, historic cities, Shakespearean theatre, and Stonehenge. These will include places of worship, theology, and liturgical development that are at the center of our faith. We will have days full of learning and spiritual experiences and also loaded with good food, friends, and fun.
Here is where we will be:
Sept 6: Arrival in London and transport to Canterbury. Opening group dinner.
Sept 7: Canterbury Cathedral, City, St. Martin's Church
Sept 8: London, St. Paul's Cathedral, John Donne, and other sites of individual choice
Sept 9: Canterbury Cathedral Sunday Eucharist, on to Bury St. Edmunds, group dinner
Sept 10: King's Lynn - Grimston (Thorowgood home), Ely Cathedral
Sept 11: St. Edmund's Cathedral, Cambridge
Sept 12: Blenheim Palace on way to Oxford, with stop by Church of "Amazing Grace"
Sept 13: Oxford - C.S. Lewis home, Brasenose College and other Oxford sites
Sept 14: Stonehenge and Salisbury, Bremerton home of George Herbert
Sept 15: Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespearean Theatre for "Romeo and Juliet"
Sept 16: Church at Christ Church Cathedral and free time in Oxford
Sept 17: Return home via London
Every day we will post a note telling you about the highlights and experiences of our day. We hope you will follow along and make some comments to let us know what resonates with you. We wish God's blessings for you as we travel. We hope that you might catch a glimpse of what God is doing with us on this pilgrimage.