Earlier this week all of Year 8 travelled to nearby Glastonbury, a centre of Christian Pilgrimage for over 1400 years. Whilst the eclectic and alternative nature of Glastonbury appeals to people for a whole number of reasons, for us as Christians it is the perfect place to visit when focusing on the theme of Pilgrimage, with the earliest dated Marian Shrine being present here. We were welcomed by Kim and Fr Dominic from the Shrine of Our Lady of Glastonbury, who shared the history of pilgrimage to the site, from Saxon times, throughout the middle ages and up until the great Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII and monks martyred on the Tor. Inside the shrine is the most beautiful tapestry behind the altar capturing the many saints who have journeyed to and become connected with the place. Pertinent to our faith there are also legends of St Joseph of Arimathea bringing Jesus to Glastonbury whilst a merchant, along with the Holy Grail and the Glastonbury Thorne – all captured in the tapestry.

As part of our day we journeyed up to the top of the Tor to St Michael’s Tower, following in the footsteps of so many pilgrims as we reached the site of one of the early Churches and the place of execution for the last Abbott of Glastonbury. From there the views are breath taking across the Somerset levels and we were blessed to have the sun shining on us both days.

Back in the Church hall which St Mary’s kindly allowed us to use, we focused on the meaning of pilgrimage today for Christians and those forced to go on unexpected and painful journeys – refugees. By participating in a simulation activity we explored the challenges and perceptions refugees encounter on their journey, the injustice, the power of human spirit and how the power of faith and hope can be the strength they lean on during their journeys. We were able to show students this with a Lampedusa Cross, created out of the wreckage of a refugee boat, alongside the story of Francesco Tuccio’s demonstration of love and hope in the face of peril.

Year 8 were an absolute delight as ever, engaging so well and embracing the day with thought, respect and kindness.

Mr M Robinson
Lay Chaplain