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Nearly 50 pilgrims of different faiths and none set off on a 200-mile journey from London to Paris ahead of COP21.back to listing
by Vicar Giles Goddard, St John's Church, Waterloo & OurVoices Spiritual Ambassador
Sunday evening, at about 6pm — when sensible people were in the warmth of their living rooms or (perhaps) in church — I was threading my way between a fence and a ditch on a foot-wide muddy path in rural Sussex. Rain dripped down my neck. Little glimmering flashlights barely pierced the dark. Forty other people squelched along the path: we had walked 15 miles so far and had another three to go. Owls laughed at us from nearby trees.
My feet hurt and I wanted, more than anything else, a nice cup of tea.
Around 30 of the 40 are walking all the way from St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London to Paris – 200 miles. I’m leaving the pilgrimage at Newhaven, having walked 75 miles. It’s been amazing, so far. We’ve received tremendous hospitality along the way, from churches of all descriptions and shapes, proving the truth of the idea that pilgrimage is a thread of spirituality which touches many points.
My fellow pilgrims are a motley crew, in its original sense – a group of people of all ages from all over England – Catholics, Quakers, Baptists and Anglicans of all descriptions, and a Buddhist from Inverness. We’re united in our possession of good boots, good waterproofs, stronger legs than we had three days ago and a profound desire to make the world a better place.
The Pilgrimage2Paris starting their journey in London/Christian AidThe youngest, Josh, is 23 and recently returned from a Tearfund deployment to Bangladesh. It would be impolite to speculate on the eldest’s age, but I’m guessing she’s in her 70’s, and she hasn’t done a walk anything like as far as this before.