Not exactly news

As part of a continuing commitment to exploring inter-faith cooperation with regards environmental action, Mary/Michael Pilgrims Way are organising a pilgrimage in co-operation with DEFAN (Devon Earth Faith Action Network) on Dartmoor on Sunday 23rd April, 2017

The format will be similar to the pilgrimage we shared last summer (although this time we will be in the vicinity of Okehampton and Belstone.)

I attach a short description of that last pilgrimage to give people a flavour of these events. If you are interested to participate in the forthcoming pilgrimage, or would like me to organise a pilgrimage on your behalf for a group you are part of, do get in touch.


Dartmoor  Inter Faith Pilgrimage 2016

On Sunday 17th July, 15 of us gathered at Throwleigh on the edge of Dartmoor to share in a short pilgrimage walk. This was one of a series of events organised through DEFAN, bringing together people from different faith backgrounds.

Alternatively titled “The three loos pilgrimage” in recognition of the facilities conveniently situated along the way, the pilgrimage began in St Mary’s Church, with introductions, the lighting of a candle and a couple of short readings. With so much in the news focusing on social division, polarisation and fear, with extremist voices dominating the agenda, creating a space to delight in diversity and articulating a view that “no one person and no one faith has the final revelation or monopoly of truth,”  seemed important.

From the church, we walked in Noble Silence ( a concept drawn from Buddhist tradition), following our route along some peaceful footpaths and quiet lanes, grateful for a cooling breeze and the shading offered by overhanging trees and hedgerows on what was developing into a hot, sunny day.

We paused for a while in the Woodland Trust Reserve at Blackaton Copse, each of us finding a quiet place to sit and reflect before re-joining the group to share responses to our individual experience. Many acknowledged the simple joy of time spent quietly in nature.

We followed the stream side path through the woods before making our most arduous climb of the day, up the lane to Gidleigh. Here in the cool of the church, a most welcoming spread of homemade cakes and scones had been laid out by Lynne Evans, the church warden. We made the most of the hospitality so generously provided, lingering for longer than planned over our lunch, before heading off again in the heat of the afternoon to complete our pilgrimage.

The insistent call of buzzards accompanied us along the way, before we stopped under the spreading canopy of a beautiful oak tree, to listen to an invocation to White Tara and a recitation from the writing of the Sufi poet Hafiz. Then it was the last leg of our journey, back to Throwleigh, with some expansive views up to the high moor, shimmering in the heat.

Our final sharing space back in Throwleigh church included an opportunity to write a quick few words as a spontaneous response to any impression from the day which had touched us. Some of these were then read out, enabling us to reconnect with some of the mosaic of small experiences that had made up the day. We completed the day with a brief silence and an acknowledgement of each other and our gratitude for the shared experience of pilgrimage.

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