Farewell to Green Pilgrimage ?

  Farewell to Green Pilgrimage?  I jolly well hope not! But to face facts, there 'aint no hope for any more EU money and grants from Interreg Europe.  See - Interreg Europe borrowed (stole, maybe?) the brand from Alliance of Religions and Conservation (website now unavailable).  The European Green Pilgrimage Network    has its roots in ARC's Green Pilgrimage Network.    As I write the ARC's website is newly down and it remains to be seen if the European Green Pilgrimage Network will survive Brexit and the loss of EU money.   The need to tread lightly on God's earth   has never been more important   "Green pilgrimage is about respecting the local environment and treading more lightly upon the earth.  You might expect that pilgrimage destinations – considered our most holy and sacred places – would be the most  cared for places on earth. But sometimes the opposite is true."

Festival Church or Pilgrim Place ?

In a Post-Covid world, the C of E can can no longer ignore the writing on the wall for many country churches.  Locally, the direction of travel is set out in a Diocese of Norwich Deployment Review A process will be agreed to enable some churches to be designated as Festival Churches, no longer required for regular public worship, but remaining the responsibility of the PCC. A proposal will be formulated and costed for a significant expansion of the Diocesan Churches Trust, with a view to Synodical approval for this to be fully funded. Longer term strategies will also be needed. The old culture where the village church, pub, post office/village stores and school were the hubs of rural communities has passed away.  The post-war drift from the land and 20th/21st Century mobility  eroded it bit by bit; and, although one may wonder if working from home might reverse the trend, falling church statistics from the halcyon days of the 1950's to the present can no longer be ignored. Declari

Waymarks out of Covid - Easter

 Easter! Ascension! Pentecost! A succession of waymarks from where we plot our routes out of Covid towards the  unfolding future. In June when ( or should that be if?) we are finally free, we will be 15 months older. And some of us were old when we went into lockdown for the first time! Here our church congregations tend to be elderly, so much so that this 78 year old is part of the youth group! What I am saying is, “the future of the Church in our rural villages uncertain.” You could be accused of wishful thinking if you imagined it might have any future at all! Easter is a reminder of the impossible possibility of good news beyond our wildest dreams. In the early dawn of our (Christian)  resurrection faith, the doing this with bread and wine in upper room and around the kitchen table, revealed the risen Lord at the breaking of the bread. In the Easters of 2020 and 2021 some of us have  had parallel experiences - by the wonders of 21st C technology, around Archbishop Justine’s table

#Lockdown Pilgrimage - Mothering Sunday

No chance of going anywhere today! I  am socially isolating in advance of a small op' scheduled for tomorrow! So here I go - pilgrimaging on the internet! Sauntering ( Sainte terre ing )! I had planned to go to Hautbois Church, drawn there by a host of wild daffodils and a church dedicated to Jesus' mum. I was there at a similar time last year  - see Annunciation Pilgrimage .  But I wanted, more than anything, to pick up where I left off last Sunday, with that Roman brick in the wall of my mother church, St. John's; and to reflect on earlier generations of Mother Church. I am imagining the generations like so many Russian dolls one inside the other! We owe the life we live to them!  Norfolk has no Roman or Post Roman church buildings, no great Constantinian brick built churches as in Trier and only the hint of their existence in the place names of villages.  Norfolk has two Eccles , a name derived from the British word eclesia meaning church . Suffolk has one Roman church s

#Lockdown Pilgrimage - 3rd Sunday in Lent

Last Sunday's pilgrimage  had left me with a nasty taste in my mouth.  Could the fate of St. Michael's Sco Ruston be the writing on the wall for other rural churches?  For my local church, St. John's in  Coltishall? Today's pilgrimage brought me to St. John's and a particular length of wall. The oldest part of my parish church, dating from 11th Century.  Just to the east of the North Porch there areseveral pieces of  re-used Roman brick and tile built into the fabric.  It is possible, but by no means certain, there was a wooden building on the site that predated this wall, but we can be certain the brick was made before the end of Roman occupation. No later than the 4th Century. Among the haphazard assortment of broken pieces there is small section of complete bricks laid in a herring-bone arrangement. These complete bricks are a standard  15" square by 1 1/2"  Bricks like these were used to build the cathedral church in the Emperor Constatine's northe

#Lockdown Pilgrimage - 2nd Sunday in Lent

  From Lockdown to Locked Out Today's destination church was St. Michael's Sco Ruston of what's left of it.  Ruined in the 1980's  An ivy clad dangerous ruin.  Thoughts turn to the future of the Cof E in the country. Is this the future for many rural churches?  The answer to the question is clearly yes, unless someone takes responsibility for preserving these buildings that are the treasure chests of  their community. But need that be a problem for the future ministry of our national church? My answer is a definite, No! Give or take a bit of local difficulty with invading Mercians and Vikings the Church in East Anglia used central places for their mission. Often adopting the existing central places. See -  Ritual Landscape in Pagan and Early Christian England    . It was only in the 11th century that there was an explosion of church building and a division of once large parishes. Centering the Church's Mission on central places should work well in the post-pandemic

#Lockdown Pilgrimage - 1st Sunday After Lent

 Today's destination? St. John's Church Coltishall. The doors remain shut. We are left out in the wilderness  Not a bad place to be on a Sunday on which the Gospel leads us to reflect on Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness’.  Wandering among the graves I was suddenly with Jesus in a lonely place, on the other side of the Sea of Galilee! Remember the pigs running down into the sea and drowning ( Matthew 8) ?  Jesus had come apart to find some space for himself. There he meets a seriously deranged person living naked among the graves. Cut a long story short, and the bloke is healed and ends up,”clothed and in his right mind!” What got me into the Gadereane Swine story as coming across the grave of pig farming friends of mine. It was not Geoff’s favorite story! I remember a time we had joked about it on the occasion of his pigs being spooked by a hot-air balloon. It was at least ten days before he herded them all up again!   Geoff  loved his pigs and all other living creatures!  W