Pilgrimage is about engaging with a place and its people in a way that is different from a tour. Both have their place. On pilgrimage we pause, take time to reflect and to ask questions. Pilgrimage is a spiritual experience, often transformative, sometime uncomfortable.

As one recent pilgrim said: ”Pilgrimage takes you into the experience, and into the life of the person the place is about”. This echoes what one ancient pilgrim said: “Others merely hear, we see and touch.” And we do.

We seek opportunities to encounter the locals wherever possible: visiting their markets, worshipping with them, maybe visiting a local aid project or a hospital. We see local people grappling with their issues and working to transform their communities. We may come back changed, telling of what we saw, and sometimes raising awareness and support for those we met.

In this way, while we walk on the ancient stones we engage with the living stones. This makes pilgrimage unique. However, on pilgrimage we ensure that we visit significant sites, some rarely seen, while others are seen by thousands every year.

Pilgrimage captures the imagination and is part of our thinking as Christians. From Abraham to the present day believers have journeyed: walking in the steps of Jesus, standing on Mars Hill and imagining Paul preaching, or reflecting in the places martyrs have prayed and died.