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July 11, 2004

Glastonbury Pilgrims return


Life is, on one level, a pilgrimage. It is also about discovery and particularly about spiritual growth. Yesterday I had the privilege of serving at both the Solemn Eucharist and at the Solemn Evensong and Procession of Witness in the ruins of the ancient Abbey of Glastonbury.


The Presiding Bishop, the Bishop of Richborough, waits with one of his Deacons and the Master of Ceremonies for the Procession to move off.

Despite decidedly unseasonable weather and a few showers, the Mass saw several hundred share in the communion and at least as many proclaiming their adherence to the faith of Christ in the Procession which preceded the Solemn Evensong.


The ruined Great Crossing Arch seen from the Galilee Porch with the Pilgrims Altar in place and the Presiding Bishop's Chair.

For obvious reasons I could not take photographs during either service, but these pictures may give a feel for this ancient place of worship. This is a special place, not only for its history (it has had a Christian Church on this site since the 1st Century making it the oldest Christian foundation in Britain) but also for the spirituality of the place. Even though the Abbey is now a ruin, it still exerts its influence and has a feeling of a place set apart for God.

Today I have another interesting ministry role to play - we are celebrating a Requiem Mass for the Slain on the Bloody Meadow at 0800 at the invitation of the organisers of the Tewkesbury Battle Re-enactment, "The Companions of the Black Bear". The Vicar, Fr Paul (also known as the Lord Abbot), will preside, I am to be his Deacon and another of our Guild of Servers will be there to Serve the Office. We have no real idea of how many will attend and this could turn into "the feeding of the 5,000" type scenario. We will have to wait and see what the Lord moves this group to do. Those attending from the re-enactors will all be in medieval period costume - we will be in ecclesiastic garb - which is pretty medieval anyway! That said, our service will not be a simple show; it will be a serious act of worship and of prayer for those who died here, many of whom are buried in the Abbey and its precincts.

So, in one weekend I will have been a pilgrim and have ministered to pilgrims. The Lord works in strange and wonderful ways His wonders to perform. I am eager to see how this one turns out. Watch this space for further news!


Posted by The Gray Monk at July 11, 2004 10:32 AM