Photo Credit: John Giles / PA Photos / Pool
[ACNS] The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is embarking on a six-month pilgrimage through his diocese today to “meet people, pray with them, and to encourage them to follow Christ, and bless what God is doing.”
Dr Sentamu will start his pilgrimage with Morning Prayer at St Mary’s Church in Whitby, close to the ruins of Whitby Abbey which housed the Synod of Whitby in AD 664 – famous for uniting the Roman and Celtic branches of Christianity in the Saxon kingdoms which would become England.
“The Archbishop will be walking a sizeable distance each day from the coast, over moor and dale, along highways and byways, through both rural and urban communities and across an area which spans the Humber to the Tees and the A1 to the coast,” a spokesman for the Archbishop said.
“My prayers have led me to this pilgrimage,” Dr Sentamu said. “St Paulinus, St Aidan, St Cuthbert and St Hilda of Whitby in their time shared the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of the North.
“Praying for those who come to know Christ is a great privilege and a joy. During this pilgrimage, I would like to encourage everyone I meet to commit themselves afresh to try praying, be open to encountering Jesus Christ, pray for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and receive the gift of the joy provided by Jesus Christ – and be thankful.
“Pray with me, and join me on the road!”
During the pilgrimage, Dr Sentamu will spend six days, from Tuesday to Sunday, in each of the deaneries of the diocese. He will finish the pilgrimage in York Minster on Trinity Sunday (22 May 2016).
In 2005, Dr Sentamu embarked on a similar 280-mile trek as he undertook a Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing while he was Bishop of Birmingham – or Bishop for Birmingham as he was known.
The current pilgrimage will be supported by a special website. On it, Dr Sentamu thanks the people who will be providing “sanctuary and refectory” during the pilgrimage, saying “as we meet and pray together, I pray that we may be a mutual blessing one to another,” but he stresses that “sanctuary and the refectory are only part of the story. We must also get out on the road!
“We are a Church on the road in mission ready to make Christ known in word and deed. Come and join me, in prayer and in person, so that together we may be part of God's transforming work in this diocese.”
The Archbishop has written a prayer for the pilgrimage:
God of Our Pilgrimage,
Thank You for Your Friendship.
Be the Fire Leading Us.
Be the Star Guiding Us.
Be the Good Shepherd Calling Us.
May the Holy Spirit,
For All that Lies Ahead.
May Your Holy Angels,
Watch, Defend , and Protect Us
Against All Evil. Amen.