Dear brothers and sisters,
The next few weeks will see a handful of parishioners head to Walsingham on pilgrimage, and then, before we know it, August will be upon us.
Apart from the trip to Walsingham, there is no parish pilgrimage this month.
Having not visited any accessible holy wells, thus far, our intention to make a pilgrimage and historic church visit, starting at St Anthony’s Well near Cinderford, in the Forest of Dean, on Saturday 5 August, and then make our way to the painted medieval church at Kempley.
St Anthony’s Well was once a celebrated, widely-known and respected healing spring, though the reformation and its iconoclasm has robbed us of its history and origins, and left people’s focus being a a practical and medical one, rather than a spiritual one… but I suppose, that’s largely the nature of holy wells, particularly before health care provision. We will hold a moleben with the akathist to St Anthony at the well, though we don’t expect anyone to submerge themselves in its notoriously cold waters. I’ll see how long I can endure them with my lower legs and feet.
St Anthony’s may well be the good place for a picnic lunch before we head north(ish) to the remarkable church of St Mary at Kempley.
Although it is a post-schism church, it is well worth visiting given that it is adorned with the most complete set of Romanesque frescos in northern Europe and the most complete Norman timber roof known in Britain.
The nearby Herefordshire market town of Ledbury, with its half-timbered medieval buildings, would be a lovely place for afternoon tea and some exploration before returning to Wales for those wishing to do so!
We will agree times once we know who is coming, but would aim to be meeting at the well around 11:00.
Anyone interested and perhaps seeking a lift is asked to email Tracy: firstname.lastname@example.org
May God bless you all!
In Christ – Fr Mark