Pilgrimpace's Blog

the best place

​It has been wonderful recently to spend time with groups of estate clergy from around the country (reflection on this will come soon). 

I was at Belle Isle yesterday with the Estate Group from West Yorkshire. It was great to hear everyone suggesting they have the best parish in the Church and the best job.

Walking home from the station, my friend the Heron reminded me strongly that I do.

Love and prayers


rivers – 2
October 5, 2016, 6:02 pm
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And after yesterday, a gratuitous photo of the River Rea


Around 7 miles walked today without particular problems.  On track, at least at the moment, to walk the last week of the Cistercian Way soon.

October 4, 2016, 6:58 pm
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I saw this on twitter today and it has made me happy (I hope it is OK to share it here). I haven’t come across EcoRecord before but it’s a great site – look at it here and get involved if you are local.


The River Rea runs close to here and I walk or cycle along it often – it’s one of the best cycle routes in the West Midlands.  I saw a kingfisher on it once; I often see a heron (there was a wonderful photo from Simon Foster yesterday of the heron roosting high up in a tree).  I’ve never seen a water vole, but it lifts my spirits to know they are there.  The richness of urban wildlife, at least at this end of the river is a wonderful thing – I don’t think it quite deserves Roy Fisher’s summing up of it in Birmingham River.  Although I’m really looking forward to going to the Cathedral next week for the Roy Fisher Celebration.

And to celebrate all this, tomorrow’s knee-strengthening walk may well be five or six miles along the river.

making sense

“Suddenly being here made sense, a sense that couldn’t be explained; on the contrary, it was part of this sense that it musn’t be violated by trying to capture it in words.”

-Pascal Mercier Night Train to Lisbon


I find more and more that all reading takes on the quality of lectio divina, becomes slow and life-giving.

urban church


I love this picture of St Bede’s.  The beauty of urban ministry

June 20, 2016, 4:03 pm
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swifts and swallows
A full time recently.  Summer has seemed a long time coming.  Warmth arrived a few days ago and I was aching to see the swifts and swallows, jealous and impatient of those reporting them from further south.
On Sunday evening I walked to Yardley Wood Baptist Church to hear my friend Trevor Neill speak about his deep thinking on Baptist mission and ministry on outer housing estates.  This was a great evening.  It was good to see Trevor’s congregation react so warmly to his words and really helpful to me to get a perspective from a slightly different angle on my work.
I stepped out of the Church into the sunset and three swifts roared past low.
A walk in the warm sun through urban beauty and promise.
I had a Quiet Day yesterday at Carmel.  This was the first reflective time I’ve managed to carve out for a bit and it was one of those days of things coming together.  The weather has changed and almost feels like summer (despite today’s rain).  Through the window – past a tree that is in flower for such a short time each year – I watched swallows soar in the urban sky.
Enkindling Love, Gillian Ahlgren’s new book on John and Teresa has arrived and I was able to begin reading it.  It is what I had hoped for.  I’ll write more when I have read more.
During the day it struck me that the fundamental question or questions I am living with have changed from ‘What is the most important thing in your life?’ to ‘What do you most desire?‘ and ‘What do I most desire?’.  This is real gift and something I can hold as I journey on, and especially as I walk in the autumn.
My main task in the next few days (alongside funerals and teaching) is to write a draft of my recommendations to the Diocese on the way forward for estates ministry.  Please keep that in prayer.  You are all in my prayers

urban beauty – outer estates