Pilgrimpace's Blog

diary of a country priest


I am summoning up the courage to read Georges Bernanos’ The Diary of a Country Priest again.  Proper reading for Passiontide.

Why does it need courage to read?  It cuts to the heart:

“To cultivate clever people is merely a way of dining out, and a priest has no right to go out to dinner in a world full of starving people.”


November 13, 2017, 1:22 pm
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may day 1
April 30, 2017, 5:36 pm
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good things for estate churches

Just to catch up on a few things that are well worth reading or attending if you are involved in estate churches.


sunset, estates South Birmingham

Malcolm Brown has written a good blog piece here that explains well the recent energy the Church of England has found for estate churches and begins to set out what might happen as a result.  I am very proud to be playing a part in this – and would be more than happy to hear any ideas or comments about this.

Here in Birmingham, the Inner City and Outer Estate Groups are holding our first Urban Congress on Saturday 5th November, Faithful People, Faithful City.  The congress will hear stories from around the Diocese and with the aid of our guest speakers will share some of the challenges and opportunities parishes experience in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in their communities.  There are full details here.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please do now – there are a few places left.

The National Estate Churches Network, which I am about to start Chairing, has it’s Conference in London on November 7th and in Rotherham on November 9th.  This year, Gillian Ahlgren will be helping us to think about Practical Spirituality: Transforming Lives and Communities.  It offers the opportunity to visit again the joy of estate church life and present important challenges to help us refresh our connections with the traditions of Christian spirituality and consider how they help make a practical difference to our loving our estates and communities.  It will be a practical day with the sharing of the wisdom in the room as we seek to unlock, and share, our own, and other stories and experiences to gain fresh insight and discover new ideas.                                                                                      Click here for more information and to register.

Exciting and creative times.  Love and prayers.


September 10, 2016, 1:04 pm
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I am sitting in the garden in the sun with a coffee and a glass of juice. My sweet smelling clothes are next to me on the line. I was tired yesterday. I slept 11 hours solid. Wonderful to have a rest day. Just an hour and a half’s walk to the supermarket to stock up. An afternoon and evening of resting and reading. Perhaps a film this evening.

Just before I left Caldey, Fr Gildas told me to.pop into St Marys in Tenby as there is a carved scallop shell marking where pilgrims to Santiago prayed Mercy before embarking on the ships that took the empties back. I couldn’t find it and the Wardens didn’t know about it. I have though found a cheap bottle of Ribeiro that i will open to toast them with in a few minutes.

I am thinking a lot about Jesus’ teaching on not worrying, and also about Paul’s reflections on dying and rising with Christ that came up a lot in the Offices on Caldey. Lots of connections to tease out between this, pilgrimage, discipleship and estates ministry.

I saw a couple of choughs this morning.

The plan next is to walk to St Davids over a couple of days. Prayers for you there.


the poetry of a pilgrimage


Over the last few days I have been given a few questions and statements that I want to chew on as I walk the next months.

There is this fascinating sentence by Andre Louf:

But very few, despite their doubtless sincere interest, are truly sensitive to the demands of what one could call the ‘poetry’ of a pilgrimage. 

I think he is talking about sensitivity to culture, to people, to relationships. I pray for such openness.

Is this helping me become more Jesus shaped?

How does this connect with my ordinary life and ministry?

Is being a pilgrim to be in search of the heart, of the deepest thing?

How am I to pray?

What is the most important thing in my life?

What does it mean to be a pilgrim?

Any other questions for me?



August 13, 2016, 5:40 pm
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prickly and soft at the same time

echoes all sorts of other deeper things