Diocese of Portsmouth

    Isle of Wight pilgrims experience Holy Land

    31 May 2017

    PILGRIMS from the Isle of Wight saw the gospel stories come alive as they explored where Jesus lived.

    The Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, the Ven Peter Sutton, led a group of 38 pilgrims to the Holy Land with the Rev Veronica Brown and the Rev Jane Isaac.

    The group, mostly from Isle of Wight parishes, brought together worshippers from different parishes, helping them to understand each other better and to share their faith as they explored the places of Jesus’s earthly life.

    They travelled from the place of his birth, in Bethlehem, to the site of his burial in Jerusalem. They also visited important sites along the River Jordan and around the Sea of Galilee, as well as following the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem.

    Norman and Karen Cave, from St Blasius, Shanklin, said: "The pilgrimage was a most rewarding time for us both and continues to enrich our personal faith journeys.

    “The range of experiences, sometimes challenging and uncomfortable, often inspirational and wonderful and always thought provoking, forged lasting bonds of friendship with our fellow pilgrims from the island and beyond."

    Joanna Athey from Seaview, said: "I expected nothing life-changing but wanted to erase the images of the children’s book versions of all the Bible stories that were etched in my mind from primary school.

    “I had experienced several ‘Road to Damascus moments’ already in my life, and so I was totally unprepared for the softening of my heart that leaves me speechless and in tears with each hearing of the Gospel as it is read in church.

    “It has resulted in a deeper commitment and focus each day since, as I make radical changes in my life to a call of living more simply, and serving more freely in a hurting, growing complex world."

    Sue Ashby from Portsmouth said: “For me, the pilgrimage was a deeply spiritual and thought-provoking experience, in a land of contrasts, unexpected beauty and great historic and religious significance, shared with a lovely group of warm and caring fellow travellers.”

    And Pam Clements from St Saviour’s, Shanklin, said: “A day never goes by when I don’t recall our journey and I now realise how blessed I am to be a child of God.”