Two Bishops who completed a 10-day Lent pilgrimage today have praised residents for the ‘unsung yet vital’ community work they witnessed on their travels.
The Rt Revd Martin Seeley and the Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison walked 80 miles around West Suffolk, visiting schools, churches, businesses and other institutions along the way.
“We have learned so much more about our county and the wonderful people who live and work here,” said the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, which covers most of Suffolk.
“We met people who have set up community projects, started new businesses, and in one case developed a new school, and then gone through the ups and downs involved in building them up.
“What seems to make our county work is vision and determination and perhaps, above, all the relationships that bring people together and enable them to work together.”
The expedition began at St Stephen’s Chapel in Bures and finished at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, having followed a route that took in the villages of Cavendish, Keddington, Little Thurlow, Exning, Worlington, as well as the towns of Sudbury, Mildenhall, Haverhill, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds.
Over the 10 days, they visited the children of St Mary’s Primary School in Bures, Gainsborough Silks, Haverhill Arts Centre, Clare Priory, Nethergate Brewery, the US Airforce base at Mildenhall, the Branston Pickle factory in Bury,and Highpoint Prison.
The pair also started and ended each day with a prayer service at a church in the Diocese.
“It has been marvellous to see some of the highly skilled work going on in our county in quiet and understated ways,” Bishop Mike said.
“Visits to the schools and engaging with the children and young people was a particular highlight - such openness to learning and such challenging questions!
“One of the most impressive aspects has been the way in which individuals are developing the fabric of our social life by showing vulnerable groups care and attention - unsung yet vital work, through community and arts groups and churches reaching out to the isolated and lonely.”
For more details on the pilgrimage, visit www.cofesuffolk.org/Pilgrimage2018 and to watch the bishops’ video diary from it, visit their Facebook page @Bishopscofesuffolk.