Tuesday, July 27, 2010

London to Home 7-27


In looking back again
(now that we’re near journey’s end)
At these words that we’ve penned on the way
It becomes very clear
That there isn’t much here
About Iona’s significant stay.

I could make an excuse
Which would serve little use
That the author was too busy cooking
But the truth should be told:
All Iona memories are personal and gold
And internally, for a long time we’ll be looking.

Saying a tearful goodbye to Ian our driver

So today we will part
And a piece of our hearts
Will be left as we close the hotel door
I think we’ve all grown
(as you surely sensed on the phone)
Not just our waistlines, but our hearts even more.

So continue to pray
Each and every day
For these youth now that our journey’s done.
Pray that they’ll always see
That to be truly free:
Faith’s pilgrimage has only begun.

The pilgrims are scheduled to arrive into West Palm Beach airport at 9:01pm on Tuesday, July 27 on US 1717 from Philadelphia. There will be a closing prayer at baggage claim so that those who live on the north end of the county do not have to travel all the way back down to Saint Joseph’s. The pilgrimage celebration Eucharist and dinner will be scheduled at a later date.

London 7-26

Canterbury Cathedral

It’s Canterbury Day
So in a Chaucer-like way
We created a modern day tale
We arrived before lunch
And our browsing hungry bunch
Went out shopping and looking for sales.

Tour at Canterbury Cathedral

Then to the Cathedral
That has no Anglican equal
We made our last pilgrimage visit
With a tour we were thrilled
Saw where Thomas Becket was killed
And our Eucharist in the crypt was exquisite.

Dinner in Canterbury
And then dinner was fast
We prayed their bladders would last
As we hurried to get to the show
We saw an award-winning play
Oliver – the perfect finish to our day
It’s all over: Tomorrow home we go!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

London 7-25

After an early breakfast the pilgrims depart and attend Eucharist at St. Paul's Cathedral where our Presiding Bishop takes a moment to greet and pose with them. A picnic lunch and the rest of the day exploring London. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Paul's_Cathedral

Off to Saint Paul's we go
For a real high church show:
A full orchestra and Mozart singing choir,
Charles and Marty were in heaven,
But the rest of the eleven?
To say they loved it, I'd be a big liar.

Presiding Bishop Katherine only had a second to pose with us, but we at least got most of us in this quick shot after Sunday Eucharist at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Bishop Katherine preached well
A great message to tell
Of the need to respect the dignity of all
And she lives as she preached For she greeted us each
And agreed to a quick photo call.

Picnic on the steps of St. Paul's

At Marks and Spencer we picked
Items for a picnic
That we ate on the steps of Saint Paul's,
Then a double decker bus
Was a vantage point for us
To tour London (with traffic at a crawl).

Outside the Tower of London overlooking London Bridge

Afternoon for our pilgrims was 10 am for us and Fr. Marty and the pilgrims gave us a call during the service. You can listen to it at http://groups.google.com/group/st-joes-episcopal-church?hl=en by clicking on the file "Pilgrim's Call".

Elise and Shannon with beefeater at Tower of London

Then another fun dinner
that seemed to be a winner
At a dim sum place known as Ping Pong
We tried many new dishes
With veggies, meat or fishes,
Our picky food eaters have really come along.

On the London Eye

And a final surprise
The Big London Eye
Awaited us all after dinner.
It's a really good feel
At the top of that wheel
For return visitor as well as beginner.

You can see all the pictures at

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lindisfarne to York 7-23/24

Southward now we are bound
To historic Bamburgh town
To pray where Saint Aidan had died
Donna gave us her speech
Then we drove by the castle on the beach
(Which someday Charles dreams to finally go inside.)

Then two hours to Durham
(Maybe a bus nap will cure 'em
For they're all moving slowly today)
They slept most of the way
And just before midday
We arrived at the cathedral to pray.

Group shot at Durham Cathedral

Demery gave us her talk
And then just a short walk
Brought us up to Saint Cuthbert's shrine,
There at Eucharist we prayed
Greetings to us by the Dean were made
And at the cathedral cafe we then dined.

Demery gives her report on Durham Cathedral

An incredible tour we then took
With a guide who must have written the book
Lilian had so much to share and to tell
She kept the youth's attention And I just have to mention:
Shannon dressed as a bishop looks swell.

Then off we departed
Continuing as this morning we started
With most of the pilgrims asleep
Ian pressed on to York
He does such good work
With such a full schedule to keep.

We arrived at York's hotel
And all of us could tell
We were in Iona no more
The Friday night partying
Was already starting
So we all stuck together out the door.

Girls on the shambles in York
(Harry Potter scene filmed here)

We walked round the block
And before 8 o'clock
We sat down at Betty's for tea.
A British tradition
Now a completed mission:
They tried it - they liked it - yippee!

Betty's Tea House

High Tea in York
We finished at dark
With a walk towards the park
On the steps of York Minster we were seated
Our own collects we wrote
Based on our personal journal notes
We left by 10 but they weren't quite completed.

Inside York Minster chapter house
(equivalent of a vestry meeting room)


We checked out of our rooms
Another English breakfast consumed
A short drive to York Minster on the bus
Our guide Jeremy greeted us there
And with much tender care
Explained all of the highlights to us.

Then candles were lit
And after silence for a bit
We prayed and we sang beautifully
At Saint William of York's shrine
In a setting divine
We recalled how he lived patiently.

Then we turned them all free
Which was received with glee
For York's a place fun to explore
Little alleys and streets
Street performers to meet
And for the girls shopping galore.

A long afternoon drive
And we'd finally arrive
At our Heathrow hotel safe in Ian's care.
Some went swimming in the pool
Some thought Indian food would be cool
So we split in two groups till night prayer.

Lindisfarne 7-22

Today our pilgrims were able to follow the Pilgrim's Way across to Holy Island.

A full English breakfast served by Jackie and Sean
Had us ready for further adventure,
We walked to the priory where all our other pilgrims went
To pray (this time - without censure).

St Mary's Church

After our outdoor Mass at the sculpture of good old St. Cuthbert
We walked up the hill right nearby,
To view Cuthbert's island, where he lived and prayed,
And the two distant castles up so high.

A nice picnic lunch for this busy pilgrim bunch,
Gave all a nice chance to sit down,
Then free time to sleep, or walk to the beach,
Or browse through the shops in the town.

Dinner at Lindisfarne hotel with Ian our wonderful bus driver
who has become our adopted pilgrim

A family style dinner at 5:30, before we got dirty
Walking Lindisfarne's historic pilgrim way
The evening sun came out bright At low tide - a gorgeous sight
And the meditative walk finished our day.

Pilgrims Way

Elise really got into the pilgrim walk at Lindisfarne

Charles washing Demery's feet after

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Iona to Lindisfarne 7-21

Today the group is up early and walks the mile or so to the ferry. Then by coach to Craignure for another ferry and bus ride. They stop at St. Conan's Church and Melrose Abby. If time and tide permit they will walk a little over 2 miles across the flats from the mainland to Holy Island, Lindisfarne. Tonight its dinner at the Ship Inn and stay at the Lindisfarne Hotel.

They got up by 5 (believe it or not)
And walked to the 7am ferry
From ferry to bus and then ferry again,
With today's schedule, we cannot tarry.

Goodbye Iona

Awaiting in Oban to greet us again
Was Ian, our beloved driver,
We loaded the bags, and off we then went,
All feeling like we were survivors.

St Conan's church
A short stop at St. Conan's, a beautiful church,
Built by a son for mom's convenience,
A short thanksgiving prayer for Iona's highlights,
Then off again, today's schedule has little lenience.

Robert the Bruce's Grave

We'd visited Dunfermline - saw Robert the Bruce's grave,
We'd visited St. Conan's - saw a relic of his body parts,
Now we traveled to Melrose and saw what was left:
At Melrose Abbey is buried his heart.

We challenged the youth to find his heart's shrine,
And the bagpipes being played by a pig
A short walk awaited and as a pilgrim's reward:
Orkney ice cream with scoops really big.

Ice cream pilgrimage after the Melrose Abbey visit.
(Thank you Paul and Barbara Wegner.)

The last leg of our journey, this long travel day,
Was finished with the Lindisfarne route,
Ian's GPS took us on the most scenic route,
But the signs pointing to Holy Island spelled our doubts.

We arrived at Lindisfarne, with the tide coming in,
Too late in the day for the pilgrim's walk,
So straight to the hotel greeted by Jackie and Sean,
And down the block to Ship Inn for food and talk.

Dinner at Lindisfarne hotel with Ian our wonderful bus driver
who has become our adopted pilgrim

After our dinner, we started to pray Compline,
In a graveyard of a church called St. Mary's,
But an old stodgy priest and his wife showed up mad,
And we feared that Fr. Marty would be buried.

St Mary's Church

So we went back to our hotel
With a great story to tell,
How odd that a priest threw us out,
For doing the horrid, most dastardly thing:
PRAYING in such an old sacred spot!

Click the link St. Mary's Church and note that their home page says "visitors always welcome" :-) (editor)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Columba's Bay

The outlook wasn't brilliant
For the pilgrims eleven today
The sky was grey with rain clouds
And the sun shone narry a ray

But we had booked the Freya
For a sail to Columba's Bay
Captain Mark promised that the threatening rain
Would not get in our way.

So half the group got in the boat
The other half then hiked
(The initial hikers would be sailing home)
So everyone was psyched.

Off we went to Columba's Bay
By land and then by sea
Arriving simultaneously at
The most beautiful sight to see

The pilgrims back from Columba's Bay

The sun came out and blue emerged
Right above our spot
Quick scattering of our explorers showed
They liked this space a lot.

We gathered together two by two
And went down to the shore
Presenting the rock to our prayer partner
Whom we had each prayed for.

All of us threw our 'burden' rock
Into the Iona sea
And having laid our burdens down
We all felt very free.

Next we ate our picnic lunch
Up on a grassy knoll
To sit where sheep had not yet pooped
Became our lofty goal.

Sailing to Columba's Bay

Then after lunch we walked and climbed
Each person with a task
To find a new rock to symbolize
The new direction for which we asked.

We placed the rocks in the center of
The labyrinth made of stones
Then walked its path, retrieved our rock
To give our plan skin and bones.

Our final night seemed bittersweet
No one is ready to depart
But we made it special with a barbecue feast
And a sunset that stole our hearts.

And speaking of hearts stolen these days
There's been a heartthrob at the isle:
His name is Ed, and he plays guitar
And he visited tonight for a while.

Another friend also played guitar
And they with Charles Milling
Put on an impromptu show with us
That really was quite thrilling.

The time flew by with so much fun
And soon it was almost midnight
Fr. Marty made us all go to bed
(Tomorrow's wakeup at 5: what a fright!)

Walking the labyrinth at Columba's Bay

Monday, July 19, 2010

Iona Happenings

On top of Iona Dun overlooking north shore and youth hostel

Team building games at Iona youth hostel

Fancy dinner at Iona hostel where we hosted our Iona hosts, John and Michele

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Catch-Up Narrative

July 15, 2010

Today’s another birthday:
This is Racheal's big day
so we drove to Holyrood Palace,
but the queen's guards turned us away.

We did have to stop
for the queen's motorcade to pass
Seeing all of her entourage
is a memory that will last.

The royal archers and knights
were everywhere we went
We saw quite a few
as our morning was spent.

Touring Edinburgh Castle
With Karen our guide
who distracted the St. Margaret’s Chapel guard
while we sang and prayed inside.

Then down to St. Giles
we walked all as one.
We entered Thistle Chapel
Just after the queen's service was done.

The weather was better
so off to Inchcolm, Iona of the East
We ate on the boat
with our replenished picnic feast.

Charles led an "umh" meditation:
find a note and hold it as long as you can;
but these music savvy youth
soon broke into "Ba-ba-ba-ba-barbara Ann."

The seagulls overtook Inchcolm
In the midst of their nesting season
So we couldn’t venture on some paths
(we were being divebombed is the reason).

Then birthday girl Rachael
And Elise saw a grassy hill
They decided to roll down it
And with bird do-do had their fill.

We went to a special Italian restaurant
To celebrate Rachael's birthday
Where we said goodbye to our friend Karen
Whom the youth with remember always.

Then back into town
To see a Scottish music show called Stramash
But across the street they all noticed,
“It’s the cemetery behind Rowling’s Café – oh my gosh!”

So these Harry Potter groupies
Ran across there with glee
There’s a guy called Tom Riddle
Whose grave they just had to see.

After the show
We allowed them to roam
After they finally found his grave
We then all walked back home.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Edinburgh AND Iona

Tuesday - July 13 (continued)

We arrived early in Edinburgh
(the traffic was light)
All the youth felt like grown-ups:
Independent apartments tonight!

Since the early arrival
Allowed for extra activity
We browsed and shopped the Royal Mile
For which these girls have an affinity.

A short stop at the grocery store
Just up the street
Where we purchased our in-room food,
3 days worth to eat.

Pizza, soup and salad
Followed by prayer in the group suite
Then all off for bedtime
(Finally – off of our feet!)

Wednesday – July 14

Most opted for cereal
For a breakfast bite in their apartment
Then we met for morning prayer
Before our morning appointment.

We met our guide Karen
(adult pilgrims: remember last year?)
Experiencing her lively personality,
The youth were glad she was here.

We drove to Rosslyn Chapel
And were treated so well
A private session with the education director;
Fiona had many stories to tell.

Then a tour of the Chapel
With Karen, Fiona, and the Rosslyn guide
3 experts at once:
So many chapel secrets to “unhide.”

We topped it all off
With the service at noonday
They allowed us to sing
And Fr. Marty to pray.

After a skip to the “loo,”
The Maid of the Forth telephoned:
The ship couldn’t dock in rough weather
So Inchcolm Abbey was postponed.

So we picnicked on our bus
On which to Dunfermline we’ll be ferried
Where St. Margaret was married,
And Robert the Bruce there is buried.

This had never been planned
An exciting twist in our plot:
For no other pilgrimage group
Had been even close to this spot.

Then back to Knight Residence
For an exciting event.
A progressive dinner to prepare:
To each apartment we went.

And not only that
But an additional surprise:
A murder mystery party
Complete with costume supplies.

So it was starters at one place
And salad at the next
Then the main course at Fr. Marty’s,
Finally, dessert for each murder suspect.

This was all a surprise planned by Debra
And the youth were shocked when they heard her:
For when she revealed the night’s agenda said,
“Tonight we will have: a murder!”

The look on their faces
Made us all laugh a lot
And the funny characters we all took on
Added to the whole plot.

A great way to celebrate together
and Demery’s birthday as well,
We’ll all come back to Boynton
With funny stories to tell.

Afternoon walk to iona abbey for spritual exercise

Demery with the iona locals

Friday, July 16, 2010

Edinburgh to Iona

Here are some pictures of Iona off the web so you can see what our Pilgrims are seeing. Click on the picture for a larger view. Also a couple of links if you'd like to know more.

Iona (Scottish Gaelic: Ì Chaluim Chille) is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland. It was a centre of Celtic Christianity for four centuries and is today renowned for its tranquility and natural beauty. It is a popular tourist destination. Its modern Gaelic name means "Iona of (Saint) Columba" (formerly anglicised "Icolmkill").

Iona Ferry

Baile Mor, Iona from Fionnphort Ferry

Insel Iona

Celtic Cross in Iona

Iona Abby

Iona Abbey Inside

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The Pilgrims enjoy another day in Edinburgh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh

Tomorrow... travel to Iona.

At the statue of Greyfrier's Bobby in Edinburgh

At the tomb of Robert the Bruce in Dumferline Abbey

Morning prayer in Edinburgh hotel

With Fiona, education director at Rosslyn Chapel

16th birthday girls blow out candles

Debra made the birthday cake with Donna and Nancy

Inside the chapter house at Inchcolm Abbey

With the queen's royal archers

On the pier at Inchcolm Abbey

Pilgrims at Inchcolm Abbey