The reason I chose “Pilgrim Path” as my blog name is simple, since Rob and I linked up with the Northumbria Community nearly 5 years ago we have been exploring our lives, as a journey, a pilgrimage, and found this new monastic way of living was calling and challenging us to look at life as the early Celtic Christians, and others saw it. We have come to realise and experience that our whole lives are a journey, a pilgrimage, the first Christians called their faith ‘The Way’. This is the general reason for the name of this blog, but there are also more detailed reasons, which will become clearer if you persevere in my ramblings!
This Northumbria Community is not a church in the sense of a local gathering of Christians, who meet in a specific place regularly, but we are all free to choose ourselves where we attend a local church, in fact, some Northumbria Community folk are church leaders themselves. But you don’t have to be a church attender to be a friend of this community. We are non-denominational, and welcome all who feel they would like to get to know us better; we agree to the central core of Christian belief but recognise and enjoy that various different ways of serving and celebrating God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be just right for us or others.
We are not monastic in the sense that we wear habits and live in a monastery, but take a sense of being a community, dispersed over the whole world, but following communal simple rules of life, praying our ‘Office’ (daily prayers) wherever we are, whether married or single we are Community, though we do have Nether Springs, our Motherhouse here in Northumberland.
Here some of our people live, welcoming guests for a retreat, a short course or simply to have a reflective holiday in beautiful natural surroundings. At the beginning of 2011 Northumbria Community moved to our new Motherhouse, still in Northumberland where the first Celtic Christians in England lived and worked around 1400 years ago.
We learn from these ‘good ones of old’ in their example of seeing Christ in all things, whether you are washing up or praying together, walking in the hills or shopping in a supermarket, God is with you and we are aware that He is our constant Companion.
Rob and I live in our own home in the County Town of Northumberland, Alnwick. We offer hospitality, where possible, as part of our way/rule of life, welcoming others to stay with us when they are travelling in Northumberland on their own ‘pilgrimages’, whatever that word may mean to them.
Most people are satisfied to be called ‘friends’ of the Northumbria Community, but some feel called to a deeper, life-long commitment, to follow this journey of life in the company of others in the Community.
Rob and I considered the path towards commitment to the Northumbria Community and started praying about it, asking God to show us if this was a real calling, a vocation.
During a time when we were just sitting in silence I had what you may call a ‘vision’ – a waking dream almost; I saw a path, a long, long path, an earthen path, with lots of people walking on it, coming from far, far, back to our left, passing us and visible far, far into the distance on our right. We were joining the path from another road, a paved road. These people were mostly alone, sometimes in twos or threes. Rob and I joined with them on the earthen path fitting in between two other people, though all the people were several yards or more apart from each other they all moved together, to the one rhythm, at the same speed, in the same direction.
But as we walked I noticed that the earth under our feet was getting thinner, so that I started getting glimpses of startling shafts of blue, all shades; cobalt, turquoise, navy, sky, all shades of blue. As we progressed, the earth got even thinner and the patches of blue larger, till in the end we were walking on an indescribably beautiful mosaic path. So breath-takingly lovely that I was moved to tears as I looked at it. This seemed such a clear picture of us following in the footsteps of others, on the same road but separated by time, geography or simply our work/home situations that we eventually did become Companions of the Northumbria Community. For us, it is the way we have chosen, having felt called to this way of life, but there are so many different ways of following Christ’s invitation to know Him and, through Him, through God’s Holy Spirit, to know the Father.