On pilgrimage

From my book shelf  …  links included below

Quotable quotes and a prayer from the To be a pilgrim workshop I led in Geneva recently.


People of all faiths seem to recognize pilgrimage as an essential spiritual practice. In researching WHY this should be the case, there seems to be very little complex theological reasoning involved. Pilgrimage, it seems … has to be walked, and experienced.
Some walk to escape, others walk towards. Some walk in companionship, others alone. Some always have an eye on a destination, others live for a far horizon. … We are all of us, sojourners. A long way from home.


For pilgrimage to be real it has to be a moving experience in more than simply a physical sense. … We do not merely clock up places we have been to and sights we have seen: we are also on a journey of being, an inward journey which cannot be easily catalogued or grasped but is a great adventure nonetheless.
~ David Adam, The Awesome Journey, p. 1


We recognise that we journey in hope; our travelling will be accompanied and celebratory; we pilgrim to Christ and to redemption in him; we will challenge each other in our discipleship and spiritual nurturing to press on with perseverance; we will learn from the wisdom of brothers and sisters down the ages and across all human divides.


On the journey of faith
Far I have come, far I must go.


A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Christ our Guide,
stay with us on our pilgrimage through life:
      when we falter, encourage us
      when we stumble, steady us
      and when we have fallen, pick us up.
Help us to become, step by step,
      more truly ourselves,
and remind us
      that you have travelled this way before us.

~ by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, #167

Book list
Finding our way again  by Brian McLaren
We make the road by walking  by Brian D. McLaren
A Pilgrim Way  by Ray Simpson
Pilgrimage of a soul  by Phileena Heuertz
The Awesome Journey  by David Adam
Ancient Paths  by David Robinson

To be a pilgrim

In a village just outside Geneva  (Photo: Irene Bom)


I was in Geneva recently to conduct a workshop on the theme, To be a pilgrim.

We reflected on our life journey thus far and what it means to be a follower of the Way (the name given to the early Christians). We also shared the pilgrim songs that lift our spirits, got creative in pilgrim expressions, like writing haikus and short short stories, and made time for pilgrim prayers.

Here is a prayer from our opening devotions:

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

When we feel alone, when we feel rejected
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
When we feel drained and dried up, and we can’t give any more,
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
When we are unsure of how to move or where to go or what to do,
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Come, Holy Spirit, revive us, move in us,
and encourage us on the journey of faith.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come! Amen!

~ written by Rev. Mindi, and posted on Rev-o-lution.

From the blog
People of the way
3 Prayers for refugees
Light on my path


If you’d like to know more about the To be a pilgrim workshop, do get in touch.


Proclaim the wondrous

Garden at Colomba Le Roc Retreat, France  (Photo: Irene Bom)


But you are a chosen people,
set aside to be
      a royal order of priests,
a holy nation, God’s own;
so that you may proclaim
the wondrous acts
of the One who called you
out of inky darkness
into shimmering light.


(1 Peter 2:9, The Voice)


Literally part of “a royal order of priests”

Pentecost weekend I had the privilege of representing our Presbytery at the dedication service of Colomba Le Roc Retreat – a truly ecumenical celebration.

As part of the “Blessing of Colomba le Roc and all present” at the end of the service, I used this benediction by David Adam:


The Father of many resting places grant you rest;
The Christ who stilled the storm grant you calm;
The Spirit who fills all things grant you peace.
God’s light be your light,
God’s love be your love,
God’s way be your way.

The eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit
shield you on every side.

from The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually
by David Adam, p.112

From the blog
Body talk
Prayer sheet: Called into community
Show me the way


Pray: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ (2019)

(Photo: Irene Bom)

We’re in ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ season, from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost.

What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.

“After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.

Through the centuries Christians have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition.”


A prayer

On Ascension Day a number of people from my church attended a service in the local Anglican Church. To mark the start of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ season, the minister selected the following prayer from ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ online resources for the close of the service.

God of our salvation,
hope of all the ends of the earth, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the world may know Jesus Christ
as the Prince of Peace, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That all who are estranged and without hope
may be brought near in the blood of Christ, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the Church may be one in serving
and proclaiming the gospel, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That we may be bold to speak the word of God
while you stretch out your hand to save, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the Church may be generous in giving,
faithful in serving, bold in proclaiming, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the Church may welcome and support
all whom God calls to faith, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That all who serve the gospel may be kept in safety
while your word accomplishes its purpose, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That all who suffer for the gospel
may know the comfort and glory of Christ, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

That the day may come when every knee shall bow
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, we pray:
Your kingdom come.

from www.thykingdomcome.global


‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer ideas (including resources for families) from engageworship.org

Pray: ‘Thy kingdom come’


Have you heard? A worldwide prayer initiative called “Thy kingdom come” starts today, running from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost.

Originally a Church of England initiative, it has now been embraced by many other denominations. For more information, see the official website.

It’s not too late. Officially or unofficially, we can all join this global wave of prayer right where we are. God is listening.

Other useful links


An offering prayer

(inspired by Matthew 6: 10)

In this world: kingdom living.
In our mouths: kingdom praises.
In our hearts: kingdom goals.
In our hands: kingdom gifts.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

written by Carol Penner, and posted on Leading in Worship.

Remember: National Day of Prayer

As mentioned in an earlier post, 25 November 2017 has been earmarked as a National Day of Prayer for the Church of Scotland, as part of a year-long call for prayer under the banner of Together We Pray. You too are invited to stand with us and remember the Church of Scotland in your prayers at this time.

Pray for the decision makers
Pray for the dreamers and the visionaries
Pray for the prophets and the peace makers
Pray for the listeners and the talkers
Pray for the thinkers and the doers
Pray for the shouters and the whisperers
Pray for young and the old
Pray for the rural and the urban communities

A prayer for the church

God of our past, present and future, we seek direction for the life of our Church and for ourselves, and remember that all concerns and anxieties should be placed within Your hand.

Where we have heard Your voice may we step into the future that appears with all the uncertainties and unknowns to be explored.

Keep our eyes open to places of need, and our ears open to the call to new ways of being Your people.


Source: Church of Scotland website

Together we pray

Have you heard?

This year, the General Assembly asked the Church to focus on prayer and particularly to pray as the Church thinks about its priorities for the future.

Source: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/connect/together_we_pray

Back story

In 2016 a series of meetings were held around Scotland
a) to listen to the hopes and concerns of church members and
b) to explore solutions to the challenges of ministry and discipleship in the 21st century.

One of the outcomes is a prayer initiative called “Together We Pray” that runs from September 2017 to the next General Assembly in May 2018, with a National Day of Prayer scheduled for 25 November 2017.

“Our hope is that through Together We Pray, people will join together bringing all of life before God in prayer and imagine the future for the Church of Scotland and our communities.”

It would be good if we, as the International Presbytery of the Church of Scotland, also responded to this call to prayer, giving “Together We Pray” an international dimension.

Check out the Church of Scotland website for inspirational resources and for information on how you and your congregation can get involved.

World Day of Prayer 2017 – Geneva

At the Presbytery meeting in March (in Rotterdam), Alice Tulloch of the Geneva congregation told me about the significant local Filipino involvement in the World Day of Prayer activities in Geneva this year.
Here is Alice’s report, including some photographs.

This year the Committee of the Philippines had prepared the liturgy and material for the World Day of Prayer with the theme “Am I being unfair to you?” based on Matthew 20:1-16.

On Thursday, 2nd March, a bible study on the text and theme mentioned above was led by Athena Peralta from the Philippines who is currently responsible for the work on economic and ecological justice at the World Council of Churches. Her research and advocacy focus on just trade and finance and their gender dimensions, among others. She helped us to see how God’s justice is not always how we would expect it. Through her experience of the situation in the Philippines, she explained how we should relate to this text from their perspective.

On Friday, 3th March, the World Day of Prayer celebration took place in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, arranged by the group from the English-speaking churches.

It was a truly ecumenical event. This year we were fortunate to have participation of members of the Roman Catholic Church John XXIII. Some of their Filipino choir came to sing and participate in the liturgy. Pastor Romeo Matutino from the Independent Church of the Philippines also participated. It was a colourful and beautiful service, with symbolic acts, such as the distribution of small bags of rice.

The Filipino community also prepared some delicious specialities to add to the bake sale, and the resulting amount of the collection and the bake sale came to CHF 2’500 which will go to an association to help Filipinos in Geneva.

Report by: Alice Tulloch, Church of Scotland, Geneva

Also see: World Day of Prayer 2017 – Rotterdam

World Day of Prayer 2017 – Rotterdam

World Day of Prayer is a movement and a process that requires a commitment in time, study, preparation, and personal stretching in order to bring into a local community, in an authentic way, the realities of women in distant places. It is a movement symbolized by an annual day of celebration – the first Friday of March – to which all people are welcome. Through World Day of Prayer, women around the world affirm their faith in Jesus Christ and are encouraged to strive for wisdom to guide the actions in our daily lives.

[source: http://worlddayofprayer.net/program.html]

Christian women of the Philippines put together the service this year, taking as their theme “Am I being unfair to you?”. Jesus’ parable about the landowner who gives equal pay to all his hired workers, no matter the hours they had put in (Matthew 20:1-16) was the main inspiration.

As a practical example of how we might build a community of love, justice and service, we reflected on the traditional cultural practice in the farming communities of the Philippines called ‘Dagyaw’. Dagyaw is a practice of cooperation and collective work. At planting time and harvest time, the neighbours are called to help. In this way, people labour each others’ farms and benefit equally from the harvest. No one is paid, but the harvest is shared among all.

It was Evelyn’s first World Day of Prayer Service. Her friend, Menen, had invited her to come along and arranged a lift to St Mary’s Anglican Church, Rotterdam where the service was held. “Inspirational. Good to see women taking initiative, bringing women’s views into focus.” Evelyn was already looking forward to next year’s service written by Christian women of Surinam, a country with close links to The Netherlands.

“Women for women”, Menen commented as we reflected on the service together. It’s true, most of the people at the service were women, but not all. There were a number of couples in church that morning, and the service was jointly led by Rev. Jennifer Pridmore (the new minister at St Mary’s) and Rev. Derek Lawson (Scots International Church Rotterdam).

Derek is a keen supporter of the annual World Day of Prayer. “It helps to keep us grounded because every year it tells you something about life in a different part of the world. It puts us in touch with reality … a different reality … the bigger reality. Also it brings people together for a low-key, local expression of ecumenism.”

Remaining copies of the service sheet found their way into Chuck’s briefcase. He works for mission to seafarers and would pass them on to Filipino seamen on his rounds later that day.

Continue to pray for:

  • the multiple burdens that Filipino women experience
  • the ongoing problems and poverty caused by typhoons
  • protection for migrant workers, male and female, against exploitation
  • those working to help vulnerable women from oppression