A Pilgrimage of Prayer and Hope – an article for September from Bishop Martin

“The font in my church has been dry for over a year.”

One of our faithful parish clergy was sharing on Zoom about how things were during the pandemic. It was such a powerful image of a dry and empty font, no water, no baptisms, no people in Covid affected churches.

As a new bishop in this diocese, I had been in lockdown like everyone else. I had really missed the opportunity to visit churches and to celebrate the sacraments, of eucharist, baptism and confirmation. Hoping that visiting will still be possible this Autumn I have set aside 12 days to spend two days in each deanery on a Pilgrimage of Prayer and Hope, visiting as many churches and meeting as many people as I can. Area Deans and Lay Chairs are working with me to finalise arrangements.

Most church visits will be very low key, and I will walk or drive between locations depending on distance. There will be at least three fixed points in each day when people are welcome join me for a simple Morning, Midday and Evening prayer. I hope that one evening in each deanery will include a larger gathering, perhaps with a eucharist and renewal of baptism vows, or a shorter service of the word with time for discussion or Q&A together.

I am very much looking forward to being in many of our churches and being with God’s Kingdom People in the urban and rural parts of our diocese. If I get the chance, I will certainly bless each baptismal font that I find. Let the living waters flow!

Rt Revd Martin Gorick
Bishop of Dudley

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