2009 Little Gidding Pilgrimage

The Little Gidding Pilgrimage this year will take place on Saturday 11 July 2009. It will be led by Bishop John Flack, who is at present an assistant bishop in the diocese of Peterborough.

The Pilgrimage will take a form similar to that of last year: Holy Communion will be celebrated in Leighton Bromswold Church (restored by the Ferrars with money raised by George Herbert); after lunch pilgrims are invited to walk the five miles to Little Gidding, with three pauses or stations for prayer and reading, rest and refreshment. At Little Gidding, prayers will be said at the tomb of Nicholas Ferrar, and Evening Prayer sung in Little Gidding Church. This will be followed by the essential ritual of Tea at Ferrar House.

Before his retirement, Bishop John Flack was for several years Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Vatican, and before that he was Bishop of Huntingdon in the diocese of Ely. With his present role in the Peterborough diocese, he is well known on both sides of the diocesan boundary which runs alongside the Giddings.

Please put the date in your calendar or diary now: Saturday 11 July: Little Gidding Pilgrimage. We do hope to see you there, and do encourage your friends to come as well.

What is the Pilgrimage about?

Born in London in 1592, Nicholas Ferrar gave up a life in commerce and politics to move to Little Gidding, with his mother and his brother and sister and their families, establishing a life of prayer and charitable works. Ordained deacon, he was the leader of the household, foremost in the life of prayer, study, and work, setting an example of devotion and spiritual life to the English Church that has stood as a beacon to those who have followed. Nicholas died on 4 December 1637, and his devout life and example have consecrated Little Gidding as a holy place to this day. Our pilgrimage to his grave not only honours his memory and devotion, but also binds us into that same story.

Timetable

10.30am: Pilgrimage Communion at Leighton Bromswold Church
in the church whose restoration was funded by George Herbert and directed by the Ferrars. Bishop John Flack presides.

12 noon: Lunch
Enjoy lunch with fellow pilgrims at the historic Green Man at Leighton Bromswold, or bring a picnic lunch if you prefer.

1pm: Start of Pilgrimage Walk
Gather at the ‘hundred stone’ outside Leighton Bromswold churchyard for the start of the Pilgrimage Walk to Little Gidding.

1.45pm: First Station at Salome Wood
2pm: Pilgrimage Walk continues.

2.45pm: Second Station at Hamerton
3pm: Pilgrimage Walk continues.

3.30pm: Third Station at Steeple Gidding Church
3.45pm: Pilgrimage Walk continues to Little Gidding. The Litany is sung.

4pm: Prayers at the Tomb of Nicholas Ferrar
All gather around the tomb of Nicholas Ferrar. Flowers are laid on the tomb and prayers are said. Followed by …

Pilgrimage Evensong at Little Gidding Church
Address by Bishop John Flack. Singing led by the Hurstingstone Singers.

5pm: Tea at Ferrar House

The walk from Leighton Bromswold to Little Gidding is about five miles along the country roads. Sturdy shoes are recommended. If sunny, don’t forget to bring hats and water. Drinks will be available at the stopping places. It will be possible to join in along the route, particularly at the Stations, where there will be a pause and a short act of worship and commemoration. Timing of intermediate Stations approximate. Toilet facilities available at Hamerton Village Hall.

Donations to cover the costs of the Pilgrimage, including Tea, are very welcome. The Pilgrimage is organized by the Friends of Little Gidding who exist to help maintain Little Gidding Church and to promote the memory of Nicholas Ferrar and his family. Please support the work of the Friends by your donations, which can be Gift-Aided, and by becoming a member. Members receive a regular newsletter containing details of all events at Little Gidding, together with news and articles about the Ferrars, the Church, and related topics. Please speak to a committee member or complete and return a membership form to Ferrar House.

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