After coronavirus put paid to many plans that had been made for the ‘Provincial Year of Pilgrimage’ in 2021, the Scottish Episcopal Church will instead embark on a ‘Season of Pilgrimage’ at the start of next year.
The Season will begin on 6 January 2021, and continue throughout 2022.
“The intention was that in the year as many as possible would be encouraged to make some kind of pilgrimage during 2021, says the Rt Rev Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, on behalf of the College of Bishops. “These might have been to one of the great pilgrim sites – Jerusalem, Rome, Compostella – or might have been more local, to nearby holy place or even to a neighbouring church.
“The coronavirus has caused us all to make changes to our plans, many events have had to be cancelled or done differently. When the College of Bishops considered the Year of Pilgrimage, we decided not to cancel it, but to extend it. Our hope is that as and when circumstances change, many of us might be able to make pilgrimages of some kind.
“Our ‘Season of Pilgrimage’ will begin on 6 January 2021, and continue through to the end of 2022 at least. As we learn to live in a world shaped by the pandemic, holy journeys of prayer of different kinds could be the very activity to help many of us process what has been happening, and enable us to reconnect with God in fresh ways.
“Some of our plans for 2021 will have to be put on hold, some will be cancelled and some will be downsized. Each of the Bishops was beginning to plan a major pilgrimage, and will communicate with their dioceses, if they have not done so already, what might take place next year.”
Bishop Anne added: “Not everyone will be able or want to make pilgrimage journey away from their homes, especially in the present times. It is possible for a pilgrim who stays at home to find resources to support a virtual pilgrimage. For example, St Magnus Way is at present developing its website to enable folk at home to make a virtual pilgrimage from 2021.
“So, please do not abandon the idea of becoming a pilgrim, but make a plan for something safe and achievable for 2021 or 2022.”
An extended version of this report will be available in the imminent November edition of Inspires Online.
(Photo of Gurness on the St Magnus Way by kind permission of the official route website www.stmagnusway.com)