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The Silver Pilgrimage

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 17 May 2015

Preparations are almost complete for this year’s event when, with all the essential back-up, one hundred friends, supporters, and homeless folk walk over 70 miles of the Pilgrims Way from St Martin’s Portico to Canterbury Cathedral.

Pilgrimage is described as a ‘journey to a sacred place’ or ‘a sacred journey’ though in the occasional pouring rain ‘sacred’ is not the first word that comes to mind!

During the year several Pilgrims will have died; they will be remembered at an evocative service in the Cloisters where Dick Sheppard is buried. Their passing and the fact that this Silver Pilgrimage is indeed our 25th such journey takes us back to our history and roots. My late wife Kath invented the Pilgrimage at a time (1991) when the different parts of St Martin’s were pulling in rather contrary directions, (it is hard to believe in our present harmony but true!) And Kath saw a risk to the work of social care which would only be countered by a shared, united activity in which all parts of St Martin’s and others could play a part.

The vision was realised and will be again this year with a great input from the Connection at St Martin’s and homeless people who benefit from the fundraising aspect of the Pilgrimage. This year to celebrate the Silver nature of the event there will be a poetry challenge and a signboard that has been erected in the woodland overlooking Canterbury where Pilgrims get their first sight of the Cathedral; it will tell the Pilgrimage story to all and sundry; it is a story that includes the excellent work of the Connection, a ‘Launch’ by Bishop Richard Chartres and the presence of Vanessa, Kath’s now grown-up daughter, Colin Glover CEO of the Connection, and Peter Phillips who has walked every single Pilgrimage since the First!

The Portico, 10.15am, Friday 22 May 2015. Be there!

Roger Shaljean