Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pilgrimage to Paris - preparations begin.

I have not written anything for a long time. I apologise. This will be the first of a few posts ahead of the UN Climate Talks in Paris. 

In under a month I am going to be walking my first pilgrimage, or perhaps I should say organised pilgrimage.

I have to say that having gone to a talk a few years ago on pilgrimage where it was suggested every walk was a pilgrimage and I haven’t yet thought that one through.

It’s called Pilgrimage 2 Paris, and the pilgrimage will end up in Paris ahead of the UN Climate Talks. I am only going to take part in the UK bit, from London to Newhaven.  

It has been organised by The Church of England, Christian Aid, CAFOD and Tearfund. It will begin on 13th November and complete on the 27th November ahead of the talks.

I applied having heard about it during an ecumenical service on a mass lobby of parliament on climate justice and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Call it a nudge from a God if you like, I felt pushed by something to go on the website and apply.

I spoke with one of the organisers and we talked through some details, including that it would be approximately 12-15 miles a day. At this, I paused a little. It’s been a few years since I have done a walk of this length so I took a few days to think and to walk and see how it felt. I managed 10 miles and I was exhausted but I survived so I called back and said yes, I’ll give it a go.  

So I have been getting ready, taking the longer route to work, walking around the area, popping out in my lunch break to walk around the block and heading out at the weekends for longer walks with my husband.  It occurred to me on a walk this morning, how essential the preparation is, not just in terms of fitness and stamina but also preparing my mind and spirit.

This pilgrimage is about the UN talks in Paris, but nothing is ever just one thing. This past year I have experienced some lows and whilst I work out how if ever I can admit to the vulnerability and sadness I have experienced, I am able to put one foot in front of the other and walk.  And whilst I am walking I am letting my mind wander, from the very personal to the international.

And so it’s doing a few things for me, walking is helping me process some of my ‘stuff’. I am discovering there is a whole largely undiscovered neighbourhood on my doorstep as I veer away from my usual routes and take a different path. And I am embracing the opportunity to respond to my concerns about climate justice in a different way. I’ve been to talks, I’ve read, watched and shared. I’ve protested and prayed and I’ve organised. Now I am walking.

Here are a couple of photos, taken out and about.

However you choose to respond to climate change, I urge you to do something whether it’s to attend or organise a talk, to educate yourself, to be a part of a vigil, to listen and support those who are very involved, to make changes in your lives and the way you run your homes, by talking to your MP. It is the issue of the time and it connects to everything. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

So please stay posted, I will add updates as I prepare and then during the pilgrimage I will do my best to keep you in touch with how we are doing.  

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