On Sunday (September 30th, 2018)- The anthem the choir sang happened to be one of the songs the choir sang at Bristol Cathedral. The reason why I was in Bristol 3 years ago was because the choir at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, my family church, was in Residence at Bristol Cathedral. Both choir and parishioners were invited to attend. In total, the trip consisted of 72 pilgrims. In total, the choir sang for 6 evensongs and 1 Eucharist. The trip started in London, and that part lasted 2 and 1/2 days, and the rest, which lasted about a week happened in Bristol. The places we visited outside of Bristol occurred due to day trips and those places had something sacred and spiritual about them. This post is dedicated mostly to the town of Bristol.
I remember the day we left London. I was nervous leaving London. I learned to love London during 4 and 1/2 days- yes, I said the pilgrims were there 2 and 1/2 days- my family were there for 2 extra days. I did not even know a thing about about Bristol. I did not know what it looked like. I did not know if I would like the town or the Cathedral itself. It was going to be the main part of the trip. I did not know how much the main part of the trip was going to affect me. It was chaotic leaving London- it took us longer to get to Bristol than originally intended, so we had a very late dinner. The first night- well, it was not a good day to learn to love Bristol- it was not a half day- it was just a night basically- pretty much dinner. The pilgrims would always enjoy breakfast together, and after that- meet up at the buses for our day trip to places like Bath or Berkeley Castle or something like that.
Our first full day in Bristol consisted of getting a tour of Bristol Cathedral. The walk from the hotel to Bristol Cathedral was not very far- I get used to that. I would always be on the hunt for a new Shaun the Sheep Statute. I did not think I would want to go to every single church service- but I did. As the week went by, I learned to love the town more and more. We could easily walk around from the hotel to the cathedral and from the hotel to places to shop to and from the cathedral to the pier. So it was a lovely town. Our last two days- we did not do trips anywhere- we stayed in Bristol the entire day. I remember at the final Evensong listening to the anthem, and I remember my reaction- I was crying to that anthem- in that reaction, I realized just how transforming the trip was. That anthem was when the choir was at their BEST!!!!!!!!!! While Bristol is not the big city like London, you still can love Bristol. This pilgrimage for me was going into the unknown- I did go into the unknown leaving London. Growing up, the only place in England I heard of was London- it wasn’t until I heard about the pilgrimage that I realized Bristol was a town. It was at a church called St. Mary Redcliffe, which is in Bristol, that I thought of this motto for the pilgrimage, which are lyrics from a song, “we are pilgrims are on the journey, we are travelers on the road, we are here to help each other, walk the mile and bear the load”. The best part of the pilgrimage was the fellowship- if it wasn’t for the fellowship- the pilgrimage would not not been as transforming nor would have the places we went to would have been as impactful.
Below is a picture of Shaun the Sheep- at the time Shaun the Sheeps were hidden to raise money for a children’s hospital.