Our Vicar, the Rev. George Pitcher, undertook a pilgrimage from Chichester to Waldron to raise funds for our church building projects.
It is still possible to sponsor George if you scroll to the bottom of this page.
George’s Camino – from Festival of Fruitfulness to Harvest Festival
“To Be a Pilgrim” (otherwise known as “He who would Valiant be”) is the only hymn attributed to John Bunyan. It first appeared in The Pilgrim’s Progress in 1684, and recalls Hebrews 11:13: “…and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
Following the successful Summer Celebration organised by Sarah Mackenzie as a Festival of Fruitfulness in St Bart’s Church which raised a monkey (that’s £500) for Waldron Churches on Saturday 29 September, our irrepressible vicar George Pitcher set off for Chichester where he spent the night in the Bishop’s Palace as guest of Bishop Martin. Well rested, the next day he embarked on his one week pilgrimage back to Waldron, punctuated by overnight stops in churches along the way.
The exercise – and what exercise it was ! – was planned with military precision. He was accompanied by the faithful Dylan with Martin Wynne as support driver who doubled as a latter day Admirable Crichton (“I took the liberty of ironing your map” and “will Sir be wearing the smelly shirt?” – or was that apocryphal?). When not acting in support, for light relief Martin took time out to ride his Penny Farthing, to the delight of the locals. Athletic parishioners also walked with George on several ‘legs’ of his journey, which was punctuated by an overnight stay in churches where he was heartily welcomed. The last stretch began in Firle with a final night in Chiddingly, and thence on to Waldron on Sunday (7 October).
A packed and expectant congregation attended Waldron’s All Saints’ Church which was festooned with fruit and flowers (mainly flowers) for a Harvest Festival service with rousing singing, at which George was scheduled to give the sermon. Would he attend? The eagle-eyed may have spotted an informally dressed pilgrim, compass dangling and with Alvin Stardust gloves, quietly enter with his dog Dylan and sit at the back on one of the church’s new chairs. Following Intercessions by Dorothy Withers, George’s familiar figure (slightly slimmer?) strode up the aisle with his Labrador Dylan, the latter soon led away.
George, fresh (if that’s appropriate) from his one week hike, was soon in familiar mode with a twenty minute address touching on many matters, beginning with the recent baptism of perfectly-behaved baby Margaret Lindey then offering thanks to all who had supported his pilgrimage, which had begun with part bet/part donation of £100 from lay reader Tim Hough. Now George, happy to have succeeded in the challenge, suggested that ‘harvest’ in its broadest sense reflects three Gs (which he upped to 4G to be utterly contemporary): his walk had harvested Generosity (of giving), Goodwill (all seven churches welcomed him and his pilgrim shell, to sleep if necessary), an awareness of God’s enormous, limitless timelessness (the stars over the unblemished Chiddingly night sky made George – and indeed all of us – feel both significant and insignificant) and to these he added Generative, because of the way his 60 miles (in truth 63 , given he got briefly lost) generated his own reflections on his 63 years which began in Sherborne, took him to East Moseley then a life in London, and now to Waldron. He concluded that the past week had shown him generosity, goodwill and had harvested the love of God. It also raised a goodly amount for the parish and its various plans. So that’s six Gs, if one includes G for George.
The service was followed by a Gargantuan Harvest lunch at Culverwood, the Pitchers’ home, over which the sun shone brightly. Would George Gladly stretch that to 8Gs, I wonder ?
Donations can be made via JustGiving»
Alternatively, cash/ cheques (made out to Waldron PCC) may be sent to
Ian Dixon at ‘Brambles’ Dern Lane, Waldron , TN21 0PN .
Please write on the back “Pilgrimage” as these are going into a separate account.