St Chad Pilgrimage
On Saturday 8 June 2019, 95 midlands Church Leaders, priests, pastors and people walked together through the rain over the 19 miles between Repton and Lichfield. The second St Chad Pilgrimage took just over nine hours to complete, including brief pauses for prayer and refreshment en route.
All five fixed prayer points on the pilgrimage have significant, historic Christian roots:
- St Wystan’s, Repton, the starting point, was established in the 7th Century and was the base of the first four Bishops of the Mercians
- St Modwen’s, Burton upon Trent, is the location of the place of prayer established by the Irish nun St Modwen in the 7th Century
- All Saints, Alrewas, has over 1,000 years of history as a place of prayer
- St Chad’s, Lichfield, is the site of the house of prayer established by St Chad in 669AD
- Lichfield Cathedral, for many centuries the resting place of St Chad’s remains, was founded on Christmas Day 700AD
The following midlands Church Leaders completed some or all of the St Chad Pilgrimage:
- The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, 99th successor of St Chad as Bishop of Lichfield
- The Rt Revd Jan MacFarlane, Bishop of Repton in the Anglican Diocese of Derby
- Mgr Tim Menezes, Vicar General in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham
- Revd Rachel Parkinson, Chair of the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District of the Methodist Church
- Revd Mike Fegredo, Regional Minister for the East Midlands Baptist Association
- Revd Adrian Argile, Regional Minister Team Leader for the Heart of England Baptist Association
- Revd Steve Faber, Moderator of the West Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church
The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield, said, ‘St Chad was a pioneering pilgrim 1,300 years ago who crossed boundaries across Mercia – now the modern-day Midlands – to win people to Christ. It was wonderful to walk with Christians from across denominations and communities on Saturday as we followed in Chad’s footsteps. We were also very thankful for the hospitality in the face of some inclement weather we received en route. The need to reach across boundaries as we journey together is more important than ever in our current day.’
Mgr Tim Menezes, Vicar General in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, added, ‘The conversations between sometimes strangers of different Christian traditions, based on reasonable curiosity of how we do things differently, made for an engaging distraction from the steady rainfall throughout most of the walk! We walked and prayed and we were very happy to be part this developing tradition of local pilgrimage. It was moving to ask God’s Blessing on places, people, on industry and on God’s creation which is entrusted to our care and to future generations.’
The pilgrimage fell during ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’ the global wave of prayer which united Christians across the globe between Ascension and Pentecost from 30 May to 9 June.
You can listen to an interview with Stephen and Dawn, two of the pilgrims , which was broadcast on BBC Radio Derby on Sunday morning 9 June here (starting at 1 hour 19 minutes into the programme).