Filming for Songs of Praise at Finchal Abbey before the Pilgrims leave for Durham Cathedral. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

The Bishop of Durham and The Bishop of Jarrow have completed the third of four inaugural pilgrimage routes this week.

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham and The Rt Revd Sarah Clark, Bishop of Jarrow set off with a group of pilgrims along with the Writer & Broadcaster Sheridan Voysey, Sarah Hay, a leader of the Northumbria Community and the Northern Saints Trail Coordinator David Pott. They started at St Paul’s Jarrow on Sunday, walking through Whitburn, Roker and then St Peter’s Monkwearmouth overnight, following the Way of Learning and tracing the footsteps of the Venerable Bede and the Carrying of Cuthbert body from Chester le Street to its final resting place in Durham Cathedral. Day two saw their journey on to Penshaw, Houghton le Spring and overnight at Chilton Moor before travelling through Fencehouses, Chester le Street, Lumley, then Finchale Abbey and arriving at Durham Cathedral Tuesday afternoon. 

Each night of the route and starting the night before, Bishop Paul and Sheridan Voysey, along with a guest or two, took to Facebook Live to broadcast a series of reflections titled ‘Pilgrims Progress’ and touching on different themes for the Way of Learning.

The Pilgrims were joined on the final day by BBC’s Revd Kate Bottley and the Songs of Praise production Team to record their journey for the programme that will air on the 13th June 2021.

Bishop Paul commented: “This has been another fantastic journey, and I was delighted to be joined by such a big group of Pilgrims including Sheridan and Kate along with The Lord Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear Sue Winfield on Monday. We were privileged to have a small group of seekers of Asylum with us again on the day that we themed ‘Called to Act Justly’. I was moved to listen to their stories and see how they are now seeking to flourish.

“The weather was a very mixed bag, and at times the going was tough, but just like the first two, this third inaugural pilgrimage was again a thoroughly rewarding experience, and I can’t wait for the final one starting later this week. Sheridan and Kate both commented on the welcome they received and that is what I have always found on these Pilgrimages and also on my Prayer walks during the time I have been Bishop of Durham.”

Sheridan Voysey said: “This has been a privilege to come to the North East and to walk the part of the route that I took back in 2013. That pilgrimage was instrumental in setting me on my spiritual and career path that I follow today. Over the last three days, I have learnt a great deal from the people I have met and places we have visited, and I can’t wait to come and explore the other North Saints routes in the future.”

Bishop Paul, Bishop Sarah, Rosemary and Davit Pott will join another group of Pilgrims along with the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman and the Bishop of Berwick, Mark Wroe on the final Inaugural Pilgrimage ‘The Way of Light’ starting on May 20th from St Oswald’s church in Northumberland journeying through Newcastle Diocese and then into Durham Diocese and concluding at Durham Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday (May 23rd) with an outdoor service on College Green.

Full details and information on registration on the final two pilgrimages can be found here: https://durhamdiocese.org/bishop-leads-the-way-on-rescheduled-pilgrimage-trails/

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