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easter mon pilgrims2Each year, St Mary’s takes part in our two main diocesan pilgrimages at our Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban. The Easter Monday Pilgrimage and Albantide Pilgrimage in June each year are important occasions for us as part of our diocesan family, but also because St Mary’s was originally founded in 1080 by the Benedictine monks of St Albans Abbey, which gives us an extra special affection for our ‘mother church’.

On Easter Monday we walk to St Albans from East Barnet (but get the bus home!) where we gather in the Cathedral for a Eucharist with the Bishops of the Diocese.

albantide concelebrationThe Albantide Pilgrimage is a more formal event on the Saturday nearest St Alban’s Day (22nd June) celebrating Britain’s first Christian martyr.

There are also day pilgrimages and an ecumenical weekend pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.  There in 1061 the Lady Richeldis experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary, and since then this little village became a centre for prayer and pilgrimage for Christians of many different traditions all over Europe.

In April 2009, members of the congregation at St Mary’s and Brookside Methodist Church took part in a 3 day pilgrimage to Walsingham, and reflected on their experience of the Methodist, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions they experienced there together.

You can read the Rector’s blog summary and a link to some photographs of this very special visit here (enter ‘Walsingham’ in the Search box).

Earlier in 2009 we made a joint pilgrimage to Wesley’s Chapel and St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Again, members from both our congregations took the opportunity to learn more about our different spiritual traditions and prayer and worship together. Wesley’s Chapel continues to be an important place in world Methodism, and houses the Museum of Methodism.

Both John and Charles Wesley were regular attenders at St Paul’s Cathedral, so we dutifully followed in their footsteps and took our place in quire for Evensong at the Cathedral …..

…..before ending the day with some well earned refreshment!