By Andy Harris, Diocesan Leader of Youth Mission and Ministry
On Saturday 9 July young people set off from around Durham Diocese in two coaches heading for Holy Island.
The weather was glorious, just as it had been 4 years ago. As we paused at the start of the causeway, Sarah Bishop of Jarrow helped us all to think about how this short pilgrimage was different from a trip or a holiday, and we all said a short prayer of preparation together.
It was to connect with nature, enjoy conversations and to listen to and engage with God as we walked. The tide had retreated and our walk started on the road until we crossed the bridge and then onto the wet sands. Most of us went barefoot to enjoy the feel of the sand and warm water, as we listened to the sound of the seals in the distance!
We followed the barnacled poles of the Pilgrims’ Way, stopping halfway to sing ‘Siya Hamba’ together, before carrying on to the island. We were all encouraged to find a shell (a traditional symbol for pilgrims) and talk together about what it might represent for us.
We had a short time on the island to buy an ice-cream before our finishing service in the beautiful church of St Mary. We sang, prayed and wrote responses on footprints, while Bishop Sarah helped us to reflect on the pilgrimage and what it had meant to everyone.
We finished with jacket potatoes at St Aidan’s Youth Centre before the journey home, tired but full of joy!
Maria Murray, Head of RE at St Hild’s Church of England School in Hartlepool said: "All our staff and pupils had a fabulous day."
Helen McCormick, leader of Parish Youth from St Clare’s Church, Great Aycliffe said: "We had a fabulous time as ever!"
To see more photos from the event, please click here.