Taizé – Day 1 – Departures
Today is the day we have been planning for and waiting for many months. It is the day we depart for the Yorkshire Schools Pilgrimage to Taizé. There are 3 coaches with over 100 people heading to the Taizé Community in France for a week of prayer, reflection, praise and retreat. We are looking forward to what the week holds and how the Holy Spirit will move among us.
The schools taking part in the 2019 Yorkshire Schools Pilgrimage to Taizé are Abbey Grange Academy, Bishop Young Academy, Barlby High, Archbishop Holgate’s School, Manor CE Academy and York College.
Young Leaders from each school who have completed their Young Leaders Award, run by the Youth Trust, will be posting a daily blog, like this one, so please watch out for their regular updates. I hope that their shared reflections of their experience will inspire all reading and listening to them also to ‘be the change they want to see’ happening in schools and communities close to them.
These Young Leaders have learnt key leadership skills and character virtues through the Award and have worked hard to complete some amazing voluntary work in their local communities. You are all fantabulous!
With its warm welcome and unique atmosphere, the Taizé Community is over 700 miles in distance and many hours away by coach. We may be very tired when we arrive, but the welcome we will receive in Taizé, starting with coffee and croissants, is quite unlike any that I have experienced before.
Pilgrimages are an important part of the Christian life as they signify a prayerful journey, a journey for giving thanks to God and drawing closer to Him and to one another.
Beginning on Advent Sunday 2015, I started a pilgrimage of prayer, witness and blessing across the Diocese of York, and finished in 2016. I walked over 1.5 million steps and prayed with over 21,500 people.
The vision for the Pilgrimage is in the DNA of our Christian Heritage. As I prayed and waited on God, I was inspired by the great Northern Saints, such as Aidan, Cuthbert, and Hilda who took to the road to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As we journey together on our pilgrimage to Taizé, we experience spending time with others from across the world, sharing in times of worship, work and fellowship. I hope that this precious time will stay in our memories for a long time. It is a wonderful opportunity to think deeply about the love of God to us in Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to what God may be calling us to do or be. This pilgrimage to Taizé will cover a few more miles than my pilgrimage did, so I am glad we are not walking this one!
As we begin our journey, please join me in a prayer that I use for setting out on a pilgrimage:
God of Our Pilgrimage, Thank You for Your Friendship.
Be the Fire Leading Us.
Be the Star Guiding Us.
Be the Good Shepherd Calling Us.
May the Holy Spirit, Strengthen Us
For All that Lies Ahead.
May Your Holy Angels, Surrounding Us:
Watch, Defend and Protect Us Against All Evil.
Daily updates can be found on the Youth Trust website