Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage?

Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage?

Bifil that in that seson, on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.

(Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue)

In the prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, as the narrator prepares to begin his pilgrimage to Canterbury, 29 people turn up at a pub where he is staying in Southwark, also pilgrims heading for Canterbury. This sets the scene for their tales to be told along the way.

I am going to be turning up for breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks, Redbank Road, Northmead on the day after Pentecost Sunday ready to go on a pilgrimage to “Living Waters”. I wonder if any other pilgrims will turn up on that day.

Alistair Macrae, the President of the Assembly, is encouraging us this year between Easter and Pentecost to go on a pilgrimage, short or long, to living water and I hope “with ful devout corage”.

An icon has been created for each synod to be used as a focus for reflection and prayer in pilgrimages undertaken.

As Moderator, I have custodianship of the icon but it is available for congregations and members of the church to borrow for the purpose of pilgrimage.

In response to the President’s encouragement, on Monday, June 13, I am planning a pilgrimage from the start of the Parramatta River to North Head by foot and ferry. I will be carrying the icon and using the liturgy on the Assembly website, created for the purpose of pilgrimages such as this.

It may seem that this pilgrimage is starting at the wrong end, but I hope the reason for this will unfold on the day.

At 8.30 am I will be having breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks, ready to start the pilgrimage at 9.30 “with ful devout corage”. I would welcome other pilgrims who might like to share the journey with me and whose stories could be shared on the way from Parramatta to North Head.

The pilgrimage will start at the bridge over Toongabbie Creek and we will proceed along the creek bank to the point where it meets the Darling Mills Creek and the Parramatta River begins.

We will pass through Parramatta Park, the heartland for the Burramatta clan of the Darug people, walking by old Government House and through the streets of Parramatta along the banks of the river to the ferry terminal.

There we will catch the ferry to Circular Quay, the site of the first European settlement, where there was a source of fresh water which became known as the Tank Stream.

From there we will walk around to Bennelong Point and share a picnic on the steps of the Opera House and then we will return to Circular Quay to catch the Ferry to Manly.

From the Wharf we will walk up the hill past St Patrick’s to North Head, where the pilgrimage will end.

Maybe if you are from out of Sydney you can make a weekend of it, joining the pilgrimage on the last day.

If you would like to participate please register with Rowena, rowenat@nsw.uca.org.au or 8267 4323, and you will be provided with details.

If the numbers are small there should be no problem but if they are large there may be some logistical matters that need to be attended to prior to the pilgrimage. If you can’t participate in the whole pilgrimage you can join or leave at Parramatta, Circular Quay or Manly ferry wharves.

“The Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come. On the way Christ feeds the Church with Word and Sacraments, and it has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way.”

The Basis of Union, paragraph 3.

Niall Reid

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