Pilgrimpace's Blog

necn conference 2020
June 9, 2020, 9:26 am
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The NECN Conference is on 1st July

Claiming our Place: Local Leadership and Estate Churches


This year Free and Online

to reserve your place, please contact Christine.

NECN’s 2020 Conference has moved online and will take place on the 1st of July 2020.  We’re going to be exploring new ways in which local leadership is being developed around the country.  In the morning, we will hear from a range of guest speakers bringing their experience from different contexts and across the church spectrum.

The afternoon will include an hour of zoom chat and a chance to put questions to an expert panel as we explore the issues raised in the morning through different break out rooms.

We are really excited about this new opportunity to engage with people virtually and we hope that this will develop and strengthen the network of estate practitioners around the country.  Whether you have only just heard of the National Estates Church Network or if you have been involved from the beginning, we are really looking forward to hearing of your lived experience on the estates where you work.

The morning speakers will be live and public on YouTube from 1030am.  For access to the zoom chat at 12:30pm you will need a password.  Please contact Christine.

Please like and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more content in the future!


details and booking in the link estatechurches.org/events/necn202 #necn2020

canon missioner
May 11, 2020, 9:02 am
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I am delighted to be able to share the news that I have been appointed as the new Canon Missioner at Birmingham Cathedral.  This is tremendously exciting news and I am looking forward to getting stuck into this from the end of July.


It is a real privilege to be able to join the team at the Cathedral which is so much a part of my story, it is where I was ordained priest and has been the venue for recent NECN Conferences.

You can watch a little film where Dean Matt introduces me and I say a few words here:

It is, of course, a wrench to be leaving St Bede’s and my role with National Estate Churches Network.  I have loved ministering in both these places, and I hope and intend to take forward the skills, insights and passions I have built up into these roles (and I will be continuing overseeing the Learning Pathways for Birmingham as Canon Missioner).

There is a press release from NECN here:


Please pray for me and all these communities of faith.

the lock inn
May 9, 2020, 2:49 pm
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The rowing continues – I am approaching the Severn Crossings (updated map soon).  It has been busy, so apologies for not posting for a while.

The pandemic and the lock down are affecting us deeply.  I think of those who have lost their health or lives, the bereaved – many funerals at the moment, those who have lost their livelihoods, those for whom being confined to their home is intolerable.

And so many things we miss, the joy of company, of a pint.  One blessing is the availability of online platforms to meet.  They may not be the real thing, but they are better than nothing  – and also give the chance for people from far away to come together.  I think of a Church service which a close friend from the States is able to join; or the laughter of the Parish Quiz last night.

I can’t go to the pub – and I wonder how many country pubs will be left on my pilgrimage routes, but I am able to visit a pub called The Lock Inn each week.  A group of friends from across the country supporting one another, telling stories, drinking a pint or two, eating something unhealthy.

This pilgrimage of the spirit continues.  I pray for you as I row slowly in the direction of Santiago.

estate church news
April 29, 2020, 2:48 pm
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A break from the pilgrimage to the rest of life.  News from National Estate Churches Network – our National Conference will now be free and online on the 1st July.  More details here:



April 27, 2020, 9:00 pm
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A quick catch up.  After a hiatus, I am making good progress again, getting in some kms rowing after work each evening.  The pilgrimage is definitely on.  I am well south of Gloucester now and about to enter the Severn Estuary.  Things are about to get choppy.

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 21.55.22

It is just as well I have had time to figure out how to row this thing.


More seriously, there is an interesting discussion on the Camino Pilgrim Facebook Group about pilgrimage in a time like this.  I’m formulating some thoughts on spiritual pilgrimage – I believe that this is one – and will get them down in a post soon.

As I leave lockdown each night to row (in my garage) I pray for you all.

April 24, 2020, 8:55 pm
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Not much blogging or rowing for a while.  A heavy cold and ministry has been full in this disconcerting and difficult time of lockdown.  However, there has been some progress with the rowing – I am now well south of Gloucester on the Severn – still a way to go, but wonderful to have a focus and the pull to exercise, the Pilgrimage of body and spirit, even if not in space.


I was glad that I had to go down rather than up this unexpected obstacle on the Severn

It has been good to have a bit of space for reading and thinking in amongst it all.  This quote has meant a lot this week:

Hadewijch, despite the ecstatic experiences she describes with such ardour, insists that experiences of fruition are not the goal.  What is essential is the recognition of God’s presence in absence, the realisation of the joy that can be found in the midst of suffering, and the adherence to the faith hidden in the midst of ‘unfaith’.
– Bernard McGinn, cited in Gillian Ahlgren’s commentary on The Interior Castle
and very good to have companionship.  Friends once a week in the Lock Inn.
And time talking reflecting and praying last night with the Carmelite Group.


I pray that you stay safe and well.


April 13, 2020, 3:36 pm
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Happy Easter everyone.  Less blogging last week in the busyness of Holy Week, and the figuring out we are all doing of how to celebrate Easter in this time of Coronavirus.  Hopefully some reflections on that at some point soon.

However, the rowing continues most days, this Camino of the Spirit.  I am on the River Severn and making good progress,  currently at Ashleworth Quay, probably a couple of days away from Gloucester.


Today is cold, but the winds are from the north, so I am trying to use my sails.

Probably like many of you, I am tired.  The Bishop wrote to clergy reminding us last week to take a 24 hour rest period each week and to make sure we rest after Easter.  I am resting until Sunday, which I need.  A combination of working in the garden, reading, writing, relaxing – the the Camino.

The pilgrimage means I am moored up by a pub.  I am giving this some thought.  I remembered Middlemarch and Casaubon’s fruitless work on The Key to all Mythologies.  I thought too of the news that there are 50 million pints of beer going to waste in pubs.  And I have realised that Casaubon was nearly there – what he was really looking for, and what is needed, is The Key to the Pub Door.  I will report back when I have slaked my thirst.

More soon – hopefully something vaguely serious.  While I row, I am praying for you.

Easter Hope
April 12, 2020, 8:54 am
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Here is a short reflection on behalf of the Camino Pilgrim Group

Happy Easter to you all in these strange and difficult times



pilgrimage of the spirit
April 5, 2020, 6:19 pm
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The rowing Camino de Mar feels like a real pilgrimage of the spirit, a chance to move beyond the steady horror of the pandemic and the lockdown, to intercess, imagine, pray (and – possibly – to listen to a little music).


I am south of Upton Upon Severn, making steady progress down the river.  I’ll report on it all soon.  The last few weeks have been very busy – my diary emptying of some things but filling with others as emergency plans to keep essential things going are put in place, learning how to gather a Church that can’t physically meet, adjusting to pastoral work on the phone, to funerals with restricted numbers of mourners, making sense of it all.

I am hoping for space in Holy Week.

This quote from St Therese of Lisieux means a lot:

“You will not arrive at what you desire by following your own path, or even by high contemplation; but only through a great humility and a surrender of the heart.” 

and time to read again Four Quartets, down the passage which we did not take towards the door we never opened 

reflecting on the journeys that are possible, the journeys that may save us at this time – as well as the journeys, which for the sake of the world, we must not undertake

infinitely loved
April 3, 2020, 4:38 pm
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I’ve taken a short break from pilgrimage to record this message for the Diocese, which I hope may give some hope and encouragement at this time

NEW Video: @pilgrimpace Andy Delmege, Vicar of St Bede’s Brandwood and Executive Director @NECNestates reflects upon a story from the Book of Daniel and introduces an oft-overlooked ancient prayer #infinitelyloved #weprayforyou #SongOfTheThree


love and prayers to you all