A chance encounter on Twitter led to two Christian pilgrims receiving a hospitable welcome at two North East Anglican churches. A few weeks ago, Rev’d Paul Child, new Associate Curate in the Monkwearmouth Parish, Sunderland, noticed a tweet from the Big Bible project saying Sheridan Voysey and DJ Konz, two Australian nationals now residing in the UK, were about to embark on a 100 mile, nine-day journey from Lindisfarne to Durham Cathedral on foot to view the Lindisfarne Gospels. The pilgrimage was designed to be an interactive experience for those following on-line, with regular tweets about their progress, pictures, video blogs and offers to pray for people as they walked, all under the hashtag #digipilgrim. Paul said: “I thought it was worth asking if they were coming through our Parish, not least because of the heritage of St. Peter’s, one of the oldest churches in the country. “ DJ replied, we swapped email addresses and decided to see what we could do to help them on the final leg of their pilgrimage.” This included organising a tour of World Heritage candidate St. Peter’s so the pair could find out about its rich history, including viewing the original 7th Century archway where the Venerable Bede, known as the “Father of British History” would have entered the building aged just seven. It also meant a chance for Sheridan and DJ to join the 8am congregation at St. Andrew’s, sometimes referred to as “the cathedral of the Arts & Crafts movement,” to help set them up spiritually for the last day of their trek.
DJ said: “This is a fantastically historic part of the country and centre to the Christian story in the UK. To follow in the footsteps of the Cuthbert pilgrimage has been a deeply spiritual experience and the welcome we have received has been magnificent. Our visit to St Peter’s which was around as a place of worship at the time of Cuthbert’s ministry is just mind-blowing – what a privilege.” Paul said; “The three churches in Monkwearmouth Parish, the third being All Saints, Fulwell, are really seeking to be welcoming, hospitable places for people to come and worship. “I hope this encounter with DJ and Sheridan shows that we are also interested with things happening outside the church building, and keen to engage with those from both inside and outside our community in ways that show Jesus’ love for each of them.” The Pilgrims finished their journey through Durham Diocese with a brief visit to St Mary and St Cuthbert’s in Chester-le-street and on to Durham Cathedral. Media Package