28 members of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Chard are on a pilgrimage, walking 486 miles, along the famous ‘Camino Francés’ from Saint-Jean-Pied-De-Port (France) to Santiago De Compostela (Spain). But in these covid restricted times, they’re not able to travel overseas in reality, so are doing it virtually. They’ve been joined in their online journey by friends from Staffordshire, South Wales and the Anglican Church in Mallorca.
The idea was created by Alison Cruickshank, Church Warden at the Good Shepherd. Each day those taking part, add up the number of steps they have walked; either recording their general daily walks or going somewhere they’ve never been before. Alison adds all the steps together and works out how many miles, collectively, they’ve achieved and how far along the Camino Way they are. Each person taking part has also been sponsored by family and friends in support of the Good Shepherd.
In the evening, the virtual pilgrims meet up via Zoom to share photos and stories from their day and work out where we are on the Camino Way and which pilgrim hostel they might be spending the night in. They then study scripture on journeying, meditate and take part in an evening service, before enjoying some relaxed social time together over a glass of rioja!
Alison says she has been overwhelmed by the success. ‘I can’t believe how well it’s been received. It’s had quite an unexpected effect on people, quite profound and the worship side has been very illuminating and thought provoking.’
They began their journey with a Pilgrims’ Mass in the Church of the Good Shepherd led by the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, and attended by Archdeacon Simon. During the service, each pilgrim received a scallop shell and a Pilgrim Passport/Diary ready for the journey ahead.