It's all go round here with final preparations for the Bradwell Pilgrimage on Saturday...a great ecumencial, family event which has been going for yonks and provides a variety of worship styles and workshops and activities and space for all the family around the Chapel of St Peter on Wall and the Othona Community.
We've been lugging gazebos and floor cushions down from the garage loft and packing the car with 100 bottles of water to be frozen at Othona tomorrow...and we've welcome lovely Louis Darrant for a few minutes catch up and chatter about his part in events which is always a pleasure and a laugh!
But why, you say, are we so excited and putting in all this effort?
Let me give you a potted history of how we've got here...
I've been going to Bradwell PIlgrimage since I started in post. My job title is Bradwell Area Youth Adviser - Bradwell gives my job it's title and yet is a small, weeny place on the Dengie Peninsula 10 miles from fairly remote Maldon!! But it is a significant place - not just in this annual pilgrimage event, but for Pilgrims and those who understand the history of Christianity on our shores. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Cedd
In 2006 we went with our wonderful friend Christine (before she became a Cahoon!) while we were still camping in our new house and waiting for our furniture to come out of storage. In 2007 we went with Matilda aged 7 months and my parents to hear Cardinal Cormac Murphy o'Connor and the formation of some ideas for youth input began to take shape.
In 2008 I took a year off because the SOLID Youth Festival, sponsored by the Diocese happened on the same weekend (SOLID has now moved to the 2nd weekend in July so I, and others, can do both!!)...and I missed being at Pilgrimage.
In 2009 we had our first 'go' at a Youth Zone - Bar n Bus, Legacy football cage and space for kids to let off steam went down well with 30-40 coming through during the afternoon.
So, in 2010 we're going a bit bigger with a wider variety of spiritual input and physical output, to use the SOLID tagline! We're based at Othona which is a great spot within the Community who are based nearby to the Chapel itself. We're excited to be welcoming Archbishop John Sentamu as the main speaker for the day and he will visit the Youth Zone during the afternoon too!
We've got a Pamper and Chill Out marquee which we hope will be cool inside in temperature as well as activity! A bouncy slide, volleyball, basketball and parachute games will satisfy the most energetic. We'll be offering a guided prayer walk/labyrinth looking at journeys and guided footsteps and Firestorm and Quire will be joining us to provide their own unique take on worship and prayer.
I'm excited - it's been a germinating idea and sense of possibility for a good few years now and I'm blessed to have a fantastic team with enthusiastic volunteers connected in from their networks - and we know of lots of groups coming to join us for the day.
So come if you can too...just turn up at St Thomas' Church in Bradwell on Sea at 11am on Saturday with a picnic and good sturdy shoes and some sun cream and follow the crowd - or you can check out www.bradwellpilgrimage.webs.com for more info!
I'll post some photos next week once the dust has settled and we've emerged from under the canvas and the bouncy slide!