To mark her 70th birthday Jill came up with the idea of a walking 70kms on a Prayer Pilgrimage. She identified a 2 week period in July 2019 and Deaneries planned walks. On the first day we were sent off with prayer by the Vice Dean from Peterborough Cathedral. Numerous supporters turned up to see us off. Each day Jill walked with various people. We visited St Botolfs and were treated to refreshments and prayers led by Rev’d Barbara. This was the pattern most days. That day we also visited St Paul’s church, and Paston and Werrington branches.
Day two involved some challenging field walks around the churches in Rutland deanery led by Rev’d Deborah Marsh. We were welcomed by various church members and wardens. They no longer have MU branches, but many still have banners. After covering 11kms on foot we covered the final two churches by car, and ended by joining others in evening prayer in Whissendine.
Next stop was organized by Kettering deanery and again involved some challenging cross country terrain. We started by joining the regular weekday Eucharist. After coffee we walked to Thorpe Malsor for prayer and lunch. We were joined by other supporters. Then to Loddington and Orton for prayer, and finally a very splendid tea back in Rushden.
At the end of the first week Jill started in her own church in Uppingham and was sent off with prayer from the Eucharist. Today she was joined by other members and two miniature Dachshunds. We prayed in Lyddington and Bisbrooke churches and then returned to Uppingham on the field route.
Week two started at St Peter’s Weston Favell where we prayed with the Vicar David Kirby and a Curate who had just started that day. We walked again with the little dogs and my grandchildren and another young friend. We called at Abbington church and were met by many members. We visited Christchurch to pray and stopped for lunch at St Alban the Martyr.
On Tuesday we were in Wellingborough, greeted by members from All Hallows and All Saints. Several people walked with us at the start and we prayed for the planned homeless shelter. An intrepid few set off along the river, but the going was very hard as the path disintegrated. However, we eventually arrived at St Mary’s Wollaston for prayer, and then a splendid garden party nearby.
On Wednesday we ventured to the south of the Diocese. We started with a service at Helmdon church and then walked with local members to the Millponds where we prayed and sang. We finished with a wonderful tea joined by several others.
On Thursday 18th July we did 7.09 kms leaving from St Mary’s Higham Ferrers. In the church we processed behind the branch banner and sang. We walked to Irthlingborough via lanes and the gravel pit lakes. Again we prayed. We completed our day in Finedon with another wonderful spread of cakes. The Rector, Richard Coles led us in prayer and song.
The summary statistics were
Distance walked 71.90 kms (how accurate is our great and glorious God!)
8 areas over 10days
31 churches visited and prayed in
22 branches visited, often with catering
Met and prayed with 18 clergy
Attended 4 services
Walked with too many to count, including 6 dogs and 3 children
Most importantly it was a real prayer pilgrimage, praying for our clergy, their churches and communities.