Synod Pilgrimage: Faith Streams – Living Waters
Monday May 16
It’s that time of year again – time for a synod pilgrimage.
This time the pilgrims’ sense of adventure has led us beyond the bounds of synod geography, and we’re in Cumbria, staying in the comfort of the Windermere Centre, and ready for day walks around the Lake District.
The fact that Windermere is home to Lis our synod moderator could just be a factor in all of this, as could the fact that her husband John has had a whole career of leading people out into these hills. And then there’s alsothe fact that Dave Herbert has liked to work a near namesake of his into his moments of reflection on previous pilgrimages: all of which could explain why we’re over here, far away from the usual haunts of Cuthbert and Aidan, discovering new things about celtic spirituality, and walking in the footsteps of some of the celtic saints.
Monday however was just a warm-up. Most of the fifteen or so of us who make up this year’s contingent of pilgrims arrived in time for an afternoon walk in and around Windermere itself – starting with the steady climb up to Orrest Head, which is really a must for all visitors to the Centre. Already some wise words from Lis were helping us to focus on what pilgrimage was all about. Stopping at the station, and outside Lakeland, we reflected on journeys with beginnings and ends and new beginnings, and wondered at the ways of finding God, maybe even in our shopping expeditions.
More conventionally, standing on Orrest Head and agreeing that the climb up had been more than worth the effort, we recognised something of the splendour and majesty of God in the scene that spread before us. And then, after a brisk walk through the busy village, we came to the lake, and listened to Lis’s reflection on water, while the less than reflective swans stood threateningly all around us.
Our final stop was just a few hundred yards away, in the cemetery overlooking the lake. Thoughts about final destinations….. And then a walk back to the Centre for our evening meal, and a few hours relaxation to set us up for the real pilgrimage walks ahead.