Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell arrived at Holy Island off the coast of Northumbria today having walked St Cuthbert’s Way, setting off from Melrose last Monday. As he journeyed along the route he was praying for the renewal of God’s Church in the North. The week long pilgrimage ended with a celebration of the Eucharist in the parish church of St Mary’s, which stands on the site of the original monastery founded by Aidan.
He said, “We all know that life is a journey. Faith can teach us that this journey can be a holy pilgrimage where we can encounter God and which leads ultimately to eternal life with him.
This week I have been privileged to take some time out of my busy life to slow down, think and look at what is around me in this incredibly beautiful world that God has made and to enjoy journeying at a different pace. I think one of the reasons we go on pilgrimage is to is to learn how to be slow, to give space and time for thought and reflection, and walking the 62 miles of St Cuthbert’s Way has once again enabled me to do this. The scenery has been stunning, the weather kind, and the welcome and hospitality I’ve encountered has been warm and encouraging. I have been praying for the Church in the North that we may be holy, that people may see Jesus Christ within us as we reach out in love and service to our neighbours, sharing the good news that life with Jesus brings wholeness and peace.”
Archbishop Stephen is a keen advocate of pilgrimages and has walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain twice, as well as walking to places in England including Walsingham, Canterbury, Durham and York.