St Chad Pilgrimage
On 23rd September, I am joining church leader colleagues from across the West Midlands on a Pilgrimage from St. Chad’s RC Cathedral, Birmingham to St Chad’s Anglican Cathedral in Lichfield to commemorate the Reformation and to celebrate the reconciliation that has happened across ecumenical boundaries in more recent years.
I would like to invite the Methodist people of the Birmingham District to join us. The full details are below and on this website http://www.staffordshirechurches.org and you will see the need for registration to ensure things are done safely. It may be that you feel only able to do part of the walk, perhaps at the Birmingham end, and you will see that there are possible departure places after 3, 5, and 11 miles.
Could you please advertise this widely in your churches and encourage participation?
To mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, midlands Church leaders will take part in a walk of friendship on Saturday 23 September 2017. The walk will begin at the midlands hub of the Roman Catholic Church – the Metropolitan Cathedral Church and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham – and end at the historic mother-church of Mercia, the Anglican Cathedral of St Mary and St Chad, Lichfield.
Walking some or all of the 18 miles between the two Cathedrals will be:
•The Most Revd Bernard Longley, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham
•Mgr Timothy Menezes, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Birmingham
•The Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Anglican Bishop of Lichfield
•The Right Revd David Urquhart, Anglican Bishop of Birmingham
•The Right Revd Anne Hollingshurst, Anglican Bishop of Aston
•Revd Rachel Parkinson, Chair of the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District of the Methodist Church
•Revd Ian Howarth, Chair of the Birmingham District of the Methodist Church
•Revd Adrian Argile, Area Minister Team Leader of the Heart of England Baptist Association
•Revd Steve Faber, Moderator of the West Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church
Pilgrims will be sent on their way with a blessing by Canon Father Gerry Breen (pictured), Dean of St Chad’s Cathedral, and will receive an official welcome upon arrival at Lichfield Cathedral.
The St Chad Pilgrimage celebrates the fact that, 500 years on from their cataclysmic division, Catholics and Protestants have resolved many of the doctrinal issues that once separated them and are now, more than ever before, walking, praying and working together in respect, friendship and co-operation. The pilgrimage is open to Christian people of all denominations old and new, as well as to people of goodwill who are in sympathy with its aims and ethos.
Pilgrims will leave St Chad’s Cathedral and walk northwards for three miles along canal towpaths, passing underneath ‘Spaghetti Junction.’ They will walk for four miles along cycle paths and greenways through Brookvale Park, past Witton Lakes and on to Bannersgate. The pilgrimage route continues northwards through the entire length of Sutton Park, before following the Roman Road to reach St Peter’s (Anglican) Church, Little Aston (pictured). Here walkers will be able to find refreshments during a short lunch break, having completed eleven miles of walking.
Leaving St Peter’s Church and crossing the A454 Walsall Road, the walk continues north through country lanes and fields, passing underneath the M6 Toll Road and A5 Wall Bypass. Following Ashcroft Lane, Wall Lane and Claypit Lane, pilgrims arrive at Lichfield and proceed to the Cathedral of St Mary and St Chad
Bearing in mind that timings in such a pilgrimage can only be approximate, the plan is as follows:
8.15am – St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, will open its doors to welcome pilgrims. Drinks and toilets will be available.
9.00am – A short gathering and blessing will herald the start of the pilgrimage. Groups of walkers will leave at five-minute intervals.
1.30pm – Short lunch stop at St Peter’s Church, Little Aston, where drinks and toilet facilities will be available.
2.15pm – Depart from St Peter’s, Church
4.45pm – Arrive at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Chad, Lichfield
5.00pm – Short official welcome ceremony outside the West Door of the Cathedral
Health and safety
In order to enable the safe participation of those who wish to join the Church leaders on the pilgrimage, walkers will be arranged into groups of no more than 30 people each, under the direction of a group leader. It is imperative that those wishing to participate in the pilgrimage agree to follow the directions of their respective group leader. Individuals, couples and/or small groups who apply to join the pilgrimage do so on the understanding that they will be asked to join a larger group of walkers. Where a church-based rambling group applies to join the pilgrimage, the leader of the rambling group will be requested to act as walk leader for that group.
In view of the length of the pilgrimage, three participation options are being made available:
1. Undertaking the whole walk of 18 miles from the Metropolitan Cathedral Church and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, to the Cathedral of St Mary and St Chad, Lichfield (approximately 9.00am to 5.00pm)
2. Walking from Birmingham to Little Aston, a distance of around eleven miles (approximately 9.00am to 1.45pm)
3. Walking from Little Aston to Lichfield, a distance of around seven miles (approximately 2.15pm to 4.45pm
The walk is lengthy and, while the terrain is not arduous, it will prove very difficult in some places for wheelchair users. Young people under the age of 18 are welcome, so long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult, who considers them capable of participation in the walk. It is essential, however, that those who would like to join the walk understand the implications of participation and register to participate for the option that they believe they are able to complete.
No responsibility can be taken for those who do not register in advance to participate, and any who walk without prior registration will not be covered by the Public Liability Insurance protecting those who are authorised to take part in the pilgrimage.
The closing date for registration is Friday 25 August 2017, to allow time for necessary organisation. If time allows, and if the walk is not oversubscribed by that point, it may be possible to allow others to be admitted to the pilgrimage during the week prior to Saturday 23 September.
Application forms, whether from individuals, couples, small- or large groups of pilgrims, can be obtained from County Ecumenical Mission Officer Robert Mountford by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a message on 07514 035452.
No charge is being made for participation in the pilgrimage, whose costs are being underwritten by ‘Churches Linked across Staffordshire and the Potteries’ and ‘Black Country Churches Engaged’ (the official ecumenical bodies for Staffordshire and the Black Country respectively), with support offered by the (Anglican) Diocese of Lichfield and the (Roman Catholic) Archdiocese of Birmingham, if required.
Much preparation is being made for the St Chad Pilgrimage, involving route planning, risk assessment, health-and-safety considerations and interaction with both West Midlands and Staffordshire police forces. Prayer is requested for the safety and success of the venture, along with co-operation regarding registration to participate in the walk.