Sunday, March 04, 2012

Canterbury pilgrims...

We had a wonderful pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday, and were made to feel very welcome indeed throughout the day by the Cathedral staff. We began with a short service in the private chapel dedicated to All Saints, which had once been the place where the boys who pumped the organ had sat, and still bore their ancient graffiti. It was reached by a narrow staircase built into the walls and we would never have known it was there if we hadn't been shown to it. It looked down onto the nave from a great height - but I averted my eyes from that, not being one who likes heights.

We then found odd corners of the Cathedral precincts to shelter in and munch a sandwich before being taken on a guided tour of the cathedral by three very skilful guides, who adapted their message very well to the three groups, one of which had a lot of our children in it. They showed us all sorts of features of the Cathedral we might not have notices, and told us the story of Thomas Becket (one thing I learned was that calling him Thomas a Becket was a Victorian invention!) who was murdered in the Cathedral in  1170. I was particulary interested in the development of Canterbury as a site of pilgrimage to Becket's relics, since this visit was designed to be part of our "Holy Ground" Lent course, in which we are thinking about the way we find God's presence with us where we are.

We finished our pilgrimage with Evensong in the Cathedral, gloriously sung by their choir. We were included in the welcome at the beginning of the service; I am sure we were tempted to give a cheer when we heard our "shout out", but I am glad to say we resisted...
We took a couple of rather blurry photos - below. If anyone who was there has any more, please send them along.

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