Creake Abbey, Norfolk. Summer Tour 2018
Since my blog is all about Spirituality, and in particular, Ignatian spirituality, which is in essence all about God in All Things, I feel it quite appropriate to share something which is life giving for me and increases my conscious awareness of God in my day. After a period of illness last year, I rediscovered cycle touring, which I had enjoyed a long time ago when I was a student, and I spent a week cycle touring in Norfolk. There was an issue about where and when to spend time in prayer, between the having to get out of the B&B by a certain time, feeling the pressure to get on the road, and getting up at an hour early enough to accommodate all this not being conducive to appropriate rest, given the extent of bodily exertion during the day. I decided the best thing to do would be to stop in a church during the day and pray with Pray As You Go. I was carrying my travel size icon of the Holy Trinity with me:
I learned that it is best to downloads the prayers when you can, because a reception is not always guaranteed. And a friend of mine urged me to always sign the visitors book, because it lets the Parish Councils know that their open door policy is appreciated and worthwhile. So, it has become part of my cycle day trips, to rest in a church and pray. I sign the book with “Pray as you go” and a smiley face. It is my desire here to share the places where I have been on my cycling pilgrimages, mostly in picture form, and where I am conscious of where God is in my day, while I am simply enjoying and living my life to the full.
Creake Abbey, pictured above, is the first place I managed to pray with the app. It is a place of such peace, and it is an eternal moment; the presence of God there is palpable. I have been back at least three times since last summer and brought friends and loved ones with me.
St Michael the Archangel, Booton, Summer Tour 2018
Binham Priory, Summer Tour 2018
St Mary The Virgin, Worstead, Summer Tour 2018.
I was particularly drawn to the sunflower, as you might imagine!
St John the Baptist Church, Reedham, Summer Tour 2018
Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Redenhall. Day Pilgrmage, 19 May 2019.
I see this church on the hill every day on my way to work. I promised myself to visit it.
The graffiti scratched onto the window is accompanied by some old parish records on the window ledge. It gives some insight into who may have been responsible for the writing on the window. My question is what did they use? And how were they not observed? There must be a story there!
I left my icon of the Holy Trinity at work, so here, I brought my holding cross instead.
Saints Peter and Paul, Burgh Castle. Day pilgrimage 28 May 2019.
This church is very old, with parts of it dating from around the mid 900 AD. The middle stained glass window with Jesus carrying the cross is beautiful and poignant. And the door…people who know me well know I have a thing about doors. I’m curious about the invitation they offer when open, and the barrier they present when closed. I love the carving on this one. The window display in the porch to the church is homely and welcoming. I returned here with a friend. It is also situated near the amazing ruins of a Roman fort. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Well worth a visit.
Again, I left my traveling icon of the Holy Trinity at work, hence my holding cross in the prayer. I don’t think God really minds.
St Margaret’s Church, Starston. Day pilgrimage 14 July 2019.
A fairly typical rural Norfolk church with plenty of unassuming and humble beauty. Its opening times are more limited, so I was lucky to arrive just before they were locking up and I am very grateful that they left it open for me to spend some time there.
Parish Church of All Saints, Worlingham. Day pilgrimage 21 july 2019
This church was closed when I cycled there, so I sat in the seat and did Pray As you Go there.
St Mary the Virgin, Swardeston. Summer tour 2019
First day, first stop for prayer. A welcome break and refuge.
I was cycling along Peddars Way – that was challenging cycling with panniers on – and I almost passed this stone carved cross without noticing it. But I did see it and I stopped. Such a beautiful and unexpected gift. There is an inscription on it which reads:
The piety of every man and woman’s whispered prayer clasped in the grain of wood and stone and ancient art.
Castle Acre Priory. Summer tour 2019.
Second day. I walked around for a bit and searched for a still spot to sit and pray. I found it in the North transept of the ruin of the church. It was not so palpable as at Creake Abbey last year, but He was definitely there. Headphones are very useful when there are a lot of people around.
St. Mary’s, Bury St. Edmunds. Summer tour 2019.
Fourth day. St. Mary’s is displaying banners by the artist Jane Parsons Cope. The one of the Samaritan woman at the well was in my eye line as I did Pray As you go. I have used this passage several times in imaginative contemplation. It is quite important to me in my journey.
St Leonards, Wixhoe, Summer tour 2019.
Unfortunately, this little church was closed so I couldn’t go in there to pray, leaving me with a sense of disappointment. So I moved on and one and a half mile later found St John the Baptist church in Stoke on Clare:
St John the Baptist Church, Stoke on Clare, Summer tour 2019.
What a welcome! After the disappointment of St. Leonards being closed, it felt like He was just waiting for me to come here, with the sunflowers and the Holy Trinity icon.
St. James’ Chapel, Lindsey
Spotted this little gem of a place and stopped there to pray. It’s preserved as a historical monument by English Heritage, rather than as a consecrated church.
St Michael’s, Framlingham. Summer tour 2019.
So much beauty to see in this church, and a lot of history, including the tomb of Henry VIII’s illegitimate son.
St Andrews Church, Walberswick. Summer tour, 2019
St Mary’s Church, Thurlton. Summer tour 2019.