Week One

Day One: Kegworth 

A great first day! Bishop Guli is pictured with children from Belton C of E primary school after a Prayer Walk round Belton village where they read prayers they had written at different points, and with Paul Savage, Mohammad and volunteers from the Foodbank which operates from the Peace Centre mosque. Also pictured is Michaela Bowles from Food for Life and the Soil Association working with Together Leicester - preparing for the first Cook and Eat Hub event at Christchurch Thurnby Lodge. 

Day Two: Ashby - A Reflection from Bishop Guli

Day two of the pilgrimage began with tea and toast, coffee and cake, and a very warm welcome, at Pathways Café in Holy Trinity Church, Ashby. There was chance to share stories, hear about the amazing work of Christian’s Against Poverty and to wash some dishes. I was delighted by the ecumenical aspect of the day and received a warm welcome from Methodist and URC colleagues amongst others. In particular, it was good to be joined for most of the time by Bishop Patrick, Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham - it was wonderful to share the experience with him and his colleague Father Peter, priest in Ashby. It felt important to be cooperating together within the context of Ashby which already has such good ecumenical relationships.

We walked around Ashby town centre, stopping at Taylor’s Family Butchers, Woodlander Gift Shop and Fair2All Fair Trade store, to meet with shopkeepers and to listen to their stories. The local honey was highly recommended!

Ashby Foodbank provided a ‘foodbank buffet’ for lunch and gave us a tour of their stock rooms and process. We packed some food bags ready for collection and took a moment to acknowledge and echo a hand-written prayer note, sticky-taped to the wall; ‘For Ashby Foodbank, may God bless you in this vital work’.

Our journey continued to Viscount Beaumont Primary School, where we were able to join in with World Book Day celebrations. Bishop Guli sharing from one her favourite children’s books, ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ by Julia Donaldson. 

There was more tea and cake at Ashby Methodist Church and the opportunity to hear about the work of Youth For Christ, Transforming Lives for Good. A Christian project working in local schools to bring hope and a future for struggling children. ‘We're all about believing change is possible and that's why in all our work lies an unchanging resolve to transform lives for good’. 

We headed back out on to the road, stopping to meet more business people at Little Blue Bird Printers, Ashby Market and Springthorpes Funeral Directors, before arriving at St Helen’s Heritage Centre. We met members of the Street Pastors team and I’ve given my word to return and do a Saturday night shift with them. Later we enjoyed a delicious meal with leaders and chaplains of The Flagstaff Family of Churches and ended the day together in prayer. 

On reflection, the story of the smartest giant, seem to tie together so many of the stories from the day. It is not what you have, but who you are and what you do that counts! George, the smartest giant in the story, could not stand to see the other animals suffering and therefore generously gave away his smart clothes to help them. His generosity made him a very good person - not the clothes he was wearing! George sets out to be the smartest giant in town but ends up the kindest and in return receives the kindness of others; the story really shows what truly matters.

You can watch a video with Bishop Guli speaking about the first days of her pilgrimage by clicking here.

March 6: Salt of the Earth Charity

Please pray for this Leicester charity which supports sustainable rural developments in Tamil Nadu in India, particularly focussing on disadvantaged communities of all faiths and those living in extreme poverty.

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