Page 6 - Moravian Messenger Dec 2021
P. 6

Pilgrimage Reflections
From a Pilgrim The Pilgrimage was an an idea my husband Paul had about thirty years ago to visit all of the the Moravian Churches in in in the the British Province and he he he he wanted to do it it in in in a a a a a a a a weekend but I said that that wasn't possible and and that that four days would be difficult enough It was exciting to plan and and and prepare for especially after a a a a a a a a very difficult and and restricting eighteen months I was looking forward to it so so much as as we came out of Lockdown and also relieved when people began to sign up for this mad trip The trip began to feel real when we collected the the minibus on on the the Friday afternoon and settled down for an an early night We picked up the Coronation Avenue members and headed for Leominster - it it was lovely to to have breakfast together with the the the the the rest of of of the the the the the Pilgrims and members of of of the the the the the congregation congregation there Like all of of our congregations they were very welcoming and accommodating One of the the the ladies asked if we wanted orange juice then immediately disappeared up the the the high street to to buy some for us We then then shared our first service together and and then then we we were off filled with with excitement and and anticipation but with with time already against us The minibus unfortunately had a a a a a limiter on so we could not travel over 65 miles an hour But Ludwig the the lamb our our mascot travelled on the the the dashboard and and even flew to Northern Ireland with us after a a a a a a a a couple of running repairs The welcome we we From a Host
- Reflecting on September's
Pilgrimage: A Lingering Spirit of Hope
One morning in in September a a a group of slightly stressed church folk gathered at at Cliftonville Moravian Church One of their number had already been dispatched to to the the the the airport while the the the the others gathered breakfast supplies prepared tables figured out how to to use the the the long dormant gas stove in the the the the church hall and made sure the the the the place was fit to to receive the the the important visitors who were flying in in in in that early morning in in in in September There was anxiety and uncertainty in in in the air it had had been so so long since we had had done something like this the first time we we had opened up our church halls to guests since the the the lockdown of of 2020 It was as as though the the the the uncertainty of of the the the the times we we were in in had had rusted shut the the the doors to our hospitality and hearts We had had closed something vital off from our lives the joy of of community because it it it was too painful
encountered everywhere we we went was phenomenal and and our first day ended with a a a a a a a a a a a a a a great Caribbean feast at at at at Harlesden and and a a a a a a a a a a a a well-attended service at at at at Hornsey Some of us us were lucky to have beds on out first night night as we we we stayed at Church House and after a a a a a a a a a a a a good night's sleep we we had an amazing breakfast that filled the the whole large table in in in the the chapel which was produced by Christine Emmanuel from Harold Road congregation and her sister Susan Foreman - it was a a a a a a a a a feast!
Our last service on on our second day took place at at Ockbrook for which we we were embarrassingly two hours late after being stuck behind an an accident Seventeen members stayed to greet us and take part in the the service We We had a a a a a a a a a lovely BBQ which they managed to to to keep warm for us We We then travelled to to to to Dukinfield to to to to sleep over night on camp beds to to to to prepare for an an early 5am start to to Northern Ireland After a a a a a a a a a a frantic rush through a a a a a a a a a busy Manchester Airport supported by many prayers we just managed to to all get on on the the flight It was wonderful to to to be back in Northern Ireland to to to to see some of my previous church members Our first stop was Cliftonville where the congregation fed us an an excellent breakfast and we learnt that Br Jared makes a a a a a a a a a a a a a a mean blueberry pancake! Our day in in the Irish District was emotional for me me being back in in in the churches that I I had served as as minister Our last day was was in in Lancashire and and then Yorkshire and and it was was sad to think that our to to keep it open and expectant in in in a a a a a a world closed to to all intimate gatherings of friends and even family This pilgrimage had forced us into action We are at the heart of of all things a a a a a a a a a hospitable people The height of of joy and a a a a a a a a a true honour for for a a a a a a a a a Moravian congregation is is to to be be able to to be be host for for brothers and sisters journeying from far away As we waited and and prepared for their coming uncertainty and and and anxiety played in in in our bellies and and and joy joy a a a a a a a a a quiet gently excited joy joy pulsed in our hearts This was new and and yet so very familiar As the the the pancakes were flipped and and the the the the bacon sizzled in their respective pans and and the the the the doors swung open to reveal strange faces at the the door door a a a a a a a a a buzz of life and community swirled around us The Spirit of of God came to visit us us that day in the form of of of an an exhausted sometimes tetchy group of of grateful and excited pilgrims happy to to find find a a a a a a welcome from their weary trek Grateful to to find find rest minor comforts and and kindness and and love greeting them We received them in the the love of Christ as trip was already coming to an an end The whole thing had had been been such an an an amazing experience and we had had been been like a a a a a a a a a little family getting to know one another better each step along the the way Our days were long long and exhausting but we we knew that was part of the the the adventure Sharing the the the liturgy Br Br Jared had had written and singing the the the pilgrim song Br Br Paul had had produced with members of each congregation was also very special We had an an emotional final service at Ockbrook before we began to go our separate ways We all spoke about what the trip had had meant to us and and how it had had been such an an an an extraordinary and and incredibly special journey that we had shared together It was a a a a wonderful trip and I I will never forget the the hospitality: the the fellowship on on this journey was was hard to to put into words - it it it was was a a a a a a a a a truly amazing experience and I felt privileged to be part of of such a a a a a a a a a a a special Pilgrimage We have have also had lots of of GoFundMe donations - people have have have been extremely generous and and up to now we have have raised £743 for for Youth Funds and and the British Mission Board thank you you for for your generosity Sr Patsy Holdsworth Minister of Brockweir Kingswood and Tytherton Moravian Congregations
brothers and sisters And even though we we were not the the the ones traveling around the the the province we we still found ourselves transported to a a a a a a a a strange and wonderful place place We met them in in a a a a a a a a a a Divine space a a a a a a a a a a place place where the the the the the guests became the the the the the host the the the the the ones ones offering food and shelter were the the the the the ones ones who received the the the the gift of of hospitality as the the the Holy Spirit poured sacred oil upon the the the rusty hinges of our our hearts hearts and and we sang with with full hearts hearts and and and shared in in the the moments of worship with with joy and and we we we we were were changed changed And And they were were changed changed And And we we we we met not at Cliftonville or or or University Road or or or Kilwarlin Ballinderry or or or Gracehill but rather we met in in in in a a a a a a a a moment of of Grace Grace in in in in the the the the land of of love that exists brother brother to to brother brother sister sister to to sister in Jesus Christ our Lamb Br Jared Stevens Minister of Ballinderry and Cliftonville Moravian Congregations

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