In this European summer I joined 18 other Christians from England for a week to walk 100 kilometres in Northern Spain – a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. From ancient times pilgrims have looked forward to their arrival as they pass each milestone, get to know their fellow travellers and appreciate God’s creation. Our ‘passports’ get stamped at interesting points on the way – at churches, cafes, hotels or just at the wayside. On any journey there are often obstacles to overcome – not many on this route but I found the very steep flight of steps at the beginning somewhat taxing and others froze on the stepping-stones across a creek or suffered blisters or sunstroke. Highlights were our daily worship, including our own Communion Service in the Catholic church of Portomarin; local food; friendly fellow travellers from all over the world; wild birds and the countryside (including many eucalyptus trees brought halfway round the world 150 years ago – but no koalas!). When we arrived in Santiago the cathedral was being renovated for the Holy Year in 2021 – it was a building site – so the Pilgrim Mass was celebrated in a nearby parish church without the famous incense!
A week away gave me plenty of time to strengthen my relationship with God and my fellow pilgrims and to look forward to what the rest of my life might bring.
Back home, last Wednesday’s Gospel told how the disciples were sent out to preach the Good news, rather like pilgrims, while the reading at the beginning of Parish Council called for us all to live as people of light. Our whole meeting was concerned with looking forward in that light and indeed as you read this you will see that, unlike St. James’ cathedral, the Project Connect building work has been handed over and the contractors have departed. We will all be able to have a look at it on Sunday 13th October.
The new build now opens our doors towards the commercial heart of Robina, and we look forward to welcoming even more people into our community, especially on the 16th of November – Open Day! The Coffee Cart should be here by then – listen out for adverts on Juice 107.3 Radio.
Arrangements for the Spring Concert are going well and thanks to some new volunteers the Kids Op Shop will again open on Saturday mornings in October. We also had a glimpse of the Christmas Services timetable.
Most of the evening was spent answering a questionnaire from the Diocese on how we are travelling as a church. Looking forward this produces some exciting answers to take with us together in faith into 2020 and beyond.