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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005
    Small Pilgrim Places start to grow
    Nice to receive the latest mailing from Harlech and see that the list of Small Pilgrim Places across the country is growing.

    I like the idea of places which welcome small pilgrims. These also welcome larger folk too. I've blogged about them before; but basically they're small little-used churches and chapels, or chapels and crypts within larger churches and cathedrals which are being re-enlivened as places where people can enjoy simple hospitality, quiet prayer, thoughtful conversation. They're for searchers and seekers, those on or off the edge of the churches, those bruised by condemnations from the churches, those asking questions about the kind of God they might be able to believe in. Quite a large potential user-group then.

    The 'pilot' Small Pilgrim Place was a tiny chapel in Llandecwyn, in the Gwynedd coastal hills. I blogged about it before. Now there are others in Old Linslade, Barford St John, Kirtling, Worpleston and Eynsham (I'm not linking them - so you can enjoy the search). Plus one in Australia and a couple of more urban ones. Well, Greyfriars, Canterbury is not your conventional urban - the oldest Franciscan building in the UK, first settled in 1244. But St Pancras Church in the middle of Exeter's Guildhall shopping centre sounds about as city-central as you can get. It'll be fascinating to see how these develop, especially those in the busy city.