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Sunday, September 25, 2016
London parish joins pilgrimage to ancient chapel in Essex
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L-R includes parishioners with Anglican Bishop of Bradwell, Archbishop Sentamu and his wife Margaret, Barbara Kentish from Westminster J&P second right
On Saturday,  parishioners from St Mellitus in Tollington Park, joined the annual pilgrimage to one of the oldest surviving churches in England. Bruce Kent has sent this report:

Pilgrimage to St Peter's

No - not St Peter’s in Rome but St Peter’s Chapel,  on the edge of the Essex coast near the village of Bradwell.  Some time ago the parish of St Mellitus in Tollington Park decided to join the annual pilgrimage to this little chapel built by St.Cedd in 654 on the site of a Roman fortress.

St Cedd came down from Lindisfarne and formed his first community here on the Essex coast. He was born only a few years before St Mellitus died.

For years, if not centuries, the chapel was neglected but now it is a place of prayer and pilgrimage. Every first Saturday of July Christians come from many places—this year there were 2000 of us.

Only about 20 of the 75 from St Mellitus parish who had booked to come actually arrived.
Massacred on the way?

No the double decker coach, which had been booked, broke down and could not be replaced. 20 stalwarts did arrive by train, taxi and car to join in a great event on a stunning day. Of course we carried our parish banner.

The main speaker was the Archbishop of York, the Right Rev John Sentamu. He would have made an easy living as a stand up comic but his was a serious message (Who is my Neighbour?) but delivered it with humour and enthusiasm. The Good Samaritan came alive.

There were lots of things to do in too short a space of time. There were other speakers, prayer gatherings, children’s games, visits to the bird sanctuary and walk along the sea wall to be fitted in.

Best of all was a quiet visit to the chapel –that ancient place of prayer.

A reminder of 20th century activity was the large , now abandoned, nuclear power station near the village of Bradwell.

There were other Catholics too but this year, unusually, the Bishop of Brentwood, a regular visitor, could not come. Next year the pilgrimage will be on the 2nd July. Perhaps we will try again with a better coach.

But the Chapel is always open and well worth a visit at any time.
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Tags: Bradwell, Bruce Kent, St Peter's Chapel


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