Parish Pilgrimage to Whitby

Group Photo in the lounge

A group of 15 people from our 4 churches enjoyed a wonderful week together at the Sneaton Castle Centre in Whitby on our 4th annual Parish Pilgrimage. We’d been to Whitby 2 years earlier and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back again; we certainly weren’t disappointed! Sneaton Castle provided excellent accommodation in en-suite twin bedded rooms and plenty of good food. We were joined for our regular times of worship and input by our old friend Sister Pam who shared personally about her own vocation, the history of Celtic Northumbria and the value of Pilgrimage. We also grappled as a group with the thorny question: “What on earth is the church for?”There was also plenty of free time to relax and most evenings we decamped to the bar for informal chats, a quiz or a game of Jenga.

What makes these weeks so special though are the trips out and the opportunity to expand our horizons, see new places and learn new things. On the way up to Whitby we had spent the afternoon at the spectacular ruins of Riveaux Abbey, learning all about the flourishing Cistertian order who once lived there and during the week we also enjoyed time exploring Whitby and the nearby fishing villages of Staithes and Runswick Bay. Maybe the highlight though was the visit to Lastingham where we enjoyed a spectacular pub lunch before spending the afternoon in the village church which dated back to its foundation in 654 by Cedd the brother of Chad (who incidently also spent time at the Monastery there). Having heard the story from the local vicar we celebrated communion together in the candlelit crypt, following in the steps of St Cedd, St Chad and thousands of other pilgrims over the centuries.

The Norman Crypt in Lastingham Church where we celebrated Communion

Everyone agreed it was an enriching week in which friendships and fellowship deepened and we’re all looking forward to next year, wherever that may be!

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