On Saturday 17th October 2015, a group of 17 pilgrims from the parish boarded a train and headed of to Westminster as part of the national pilgrimage to the shrine of St Edward the Confessor. The pilgrims had met in the week before to discuss the day, and to receive some teaching on the history of pilgrimage and the church’s understanding of the saints.
Above all, this was a chance for members of the parish to explore their prayer life, and discover tools that might help them in their prayer life. The abbey put on a comprehensive programme of activities including foot washing for when pilgrims arrived, healing liturgies and prayers in the shrine. There was a also a full programme to children, including the opportunity to take part in ‘Edward the musical’.
Alongside the lectures, prayer tours and other activities, there was the chance to enter the holiest part of the abbey, the shrine of St Edward, which is normally closed to the public. In this place we were able to pray, and join our prayers with those of millions of pilgrims down the centuries. The day was punctuated by the eucharist, in which local school children led the prayers, and later in the day by a beautiful choral evensong sung by the abbey choir.
This will hopefully be the first in a number of pilgrimage trips. In the words of one pilgrim ” I had no agenda other than to seek Jesus Christ even more. I had a taste of heaven in many ways and this Westminster Abbey Pilgrimage has been used by God to change me yet again.”