Provost’s pilgrimage - Hurstpierpoint College

Provost’s pilgrimage

Five members of Shell undertake 26-mile pilgrimage to Canterbury

Five members of Shell, accompanied by Father Jeremy Sykes and Housemistress Sarah Hyman, undertook a 26-mile pilgrimage to Canterbury last weekend. 

Starting on Friday with a short Commissioning Mass in the Lady Chapel, the pilgrimage group then travelled by minibus to Lenham in Kent, to begin their walk along the ancient Pilgrims’ Way at the foot of the North Downs. Treading in the footsteps of millions of other Christian pilgrims down the ages, they traced a route through villages and fields. Arriving slightly damp in Westwell, the group camped, ate and then decamped to a local hostelry for an evening of Bananagrams

On Saturday, the group set off at 9am heading east and then north for Canterbury. Each day they said morning and evening prayer, either in the open air or in a nearby church. For Mass on Saturday, the good people of St Christopher’s at Boughton Aluph, opened up their church to let our group celebrate and take shelter out of the rain. All along the way the group encountered the kindness of strangers.

After a good night’s sleep at a Chilham inn, they headed off at 7.15am on Sunday in order to reach Canterbury cathedral in time for the 11am service. On arrival, they were greeted as pilgrims, given the best seats in the house, and three of our number were invited to bring up the Offertory during the service. The chosen three, nervously clutching their offering, walked the length of the choir up to the altar – with Hurst emblazoned on their backs for all to see. Other visitors to the service included the bishops, theologians and priests of an Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Commission, one of which was the Warden of St. Thomas’, a Woodard school in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was a real pleasure to meet the Warden and exchange fraternal greetings.

“The pilgrimage was a wonderful and varied experience, taking in beautiful Kentish villages and countryside, encountering strangers who welcomed us and were impressed, as many were, by our undertaking and its nature,” Father Jeremy Sykes, Chaplain.