Rev Tom Mumford's Pilgrimage to Bury St Edmunds
22nd August 2020
You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote to you about journeys, and how I was going to make one of my own, on pilgrimage to Bury St Edmunds. Well, since then plans have developed and I now have a date, Saturday 22nd August. The Dean will be welcoming me at the cathedral (so long as I make it in time!) ahead of Evening Prayer, meaning I’ll have to set off early. Probably around 7am.
I will begin in prayer at our parish church of St Gregory’s and end in prayer at the cathedral and the abbey ruins where St Edmund’s shrine once laid. I will be walking largely on the St Edmund Way, and having mapped out my route earlier this week (maps sprawled across my dining table making it look more like Churchill’s War Rooms) I estimate an 18-20 mile walk. So it won’t be easy!
As I explained before, the main purpose of the pilgrimage is to gather your prayers, the prayers of our town and parish, and offer them to God. I will do so on the way, but also at my destination, which has been a site of pilgrimage for a thousand years, and at one point the busiest pilgrim destination in all England. As many who have walked this path before me, I now have a growing fascination and devotion to St Edmund, England’s original patron saint. If you wish to submit your prayer requests, of course privately, please send them to me, or if you’d rather, there will be a web form appearing on the homepage of our website soon.
While I’m making my pilgrimage, it was suggested to me that I may as well raise some money for charity. After all, an 18 to 20 mile walk in one day is no mean feat, even for someone as spritely as myself (did I mention I broke my foot a few months ago?!). The charity I have decided to support is the Kernos Centre in Sudbury. They are a mental health support charity, offering professional counselling and support for people with emotional and psychological difficulties. They ensure that those who need it receive appropriate, effective and ongoing help, regardless of their resources.
I have chosen this cause because the COVID19 pandemic has heightened anxiety in our nation like nothing I have seen in my life time. Isolation has intensified loneliness, lockdown has caused both mental and financial depression. Our lives have been changed entirely, almost overnight. And we’ve all had our dark days and weeks, how could we not? Though many of us choose not to talk about it, pretending we're all ok and have it all under control, the reality is inescapable. Things have got hard. I know from my own experience, and from speaking to many of you during lockdown that things have been really up and down. So I want to support local people, who are struggling, to get the support and care they need. I want them to know that hope is never lost. After all, is there a better Christian truth?
If you would like to support my pilgrimage, and help me raise money for the Kernos Centre and those in the local area struggling with their mental health, please either get in contact, or simply go to my ‘Go Fund Me’ page, and donate safely and simply there. The link is here: