Hello everyone from England! The day started out with some amazing breakfast and like always I had Nutella and plain white bread. Moving on, we continued the morning with some cleaning to close off the week. Taking on the task of vacuuming, I got done very quickly and had time to pack. Before Morning Prayer, I had the pleasure of braiding hair for my girls Megan and Anna. Soon after, I started to actually Bible Journal while the rest of #GodSquad was playing Polish Poker.
We started out our journey up to the beautiful Winchester; Where we took time to venture out on our own. Looking for souvenirs and walking through street food vendors really meant that it was our last day overseas. Walking through our last Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral. The thing that stood out to me the most was how the window had been broken but yet restored into something far more beautiful with a story. We had a teacher from the cathedral take us around and show us all the spots inside that she loved. The Cathedral has the largest nave in England and is beautiful. Jane Austen, who wrote Pride and Prejudice and other classics, is buried in the floor of the cathedral. We held our last Eucharist in the "Mary Chapel."
Moving along we had time to relax and journal. Knowing the eventful evening to come, I will have to say it was difficult. A little less than a half an hour and we were at our ‘Last Supper’ destination. We were seated in our own dining area under the pub. The King’s Head, by far had the best chips (aka french fries) I’ve ever had. A game of skittles (bowling of sorts) and two lemonades later, we were back on the bus headed to the Privett Center. Closing out the day and the week, we had our New Zealand Night Prayer and some ice cream.
This week has not only made me a better person but a better follower for the man upstairs. Glad to say that I survived J2A Pilgrimage 2k18.
See ya soon Virginia Beach,
Love ya girl... Gracie G.
Hello everyone! Today started with the usual waking up (thankfully) and boarding the coach at 8:45 and heading to White Horse Hill for an adventure. We walked for about half a mile to an old grave site that is 3,800 years old, called Wayland’s Smithy. Unfortunately, the bodies had been excavated and we were left with empty tombs which were still pretty cool. We continued our walk for another mile and climbed a very treacherous hill. Once we made it to the top, we stopped for a very scenic Eucharist overlooking the farmland. Now we’re too classy to drink straight from the wine bottle so our communion wine was drunk from a very nice plastic water bottle. Everyone left with beautiful pictures and peaceful hearts whereas I left with a somewhat painful sunburn! After we climbed to the bottom we celebrated our accomplishment with some treats from an ice cream truck.
We journeyed in our classic coach (courtesy of our driver Martin) to The Fox and Hounds for lunch in a real English pub. I’m not fan of tomatoes but I ordered a BLT and actually enjoyed it! Our next stop was Stonehenge which functioned as a calendar for our ancestors around 5,000 years ago. The calendar was used to show the days of the winter and summer solstices so they could figure out when to plant and when to harvest their crops. Our mentor David informed us that the early people brought some of the rocks that make up Stonehenge all the way from Wales!! I don’t know about you but that sounds like an awful lot of work for a calendar. Regardless of the oversized rocks it’s still pretty amazing that our ancestors were so forward thinking to come up with such an intricate way to live.
After marveling at Stonehenge, we boarded the coach to begin our drive back to the Privett Centre. The ride was particularly interesting because all the pilgrims decided to have a major jam sesh. By that I mean we sang all five minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen (Megan B thanks her dad for forcing her to listen to it on so many car trips 😘). We spent the rest of the coach ride singing random songs and probably torturing our mentors (lol sorry).
Once we got home, we celebrated Peter’s birthday with a chicken alfredo dinner (courtesy of team Nonna) and an ice cream sundae bar afterwards. Everyone was shocked at the unnecessarily large size of Parker’s sundae 😱. We did night prayer in the small church next door. And now I’m sitting on the playground with Megan B and Zoe at 10:30 at night, staring at a full moon, listening to T-Swizzle aka Taylor Swift, and writing this blog post.
Love and miss you guysssssssss! - Eliza
Greetings friends and family!
Today was a very eventful day from my point of view. We began our day by taking a nice long coach ride to the Glastonbury Tor with a few pit stops on the way of course! Personally, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I heard we were going there. When I heard “tor,” what originally ran through my mind was, “Oh! We are going to get a tour of Glastonbury just like we got a tour of London!” However, my thoughts were nothing close to the truth.
The Glastonbury Tor is a gorgeous building on top of a not so tall looking, steep hill. I came upon the hill thinking that I was going to be the first one to the top. I looked at the hill and thought to myself, “You got this! You are an athlete who has conditioned on upward grounds! Nothing is holding you back!” Little did I know that there was so much holding me back. I could’ve easily paced myself to be the first to the tower, yet I didn’t. One of my heaviest setbacks was the view. The view was magnificent! It was truly breathtaking and to rush up the hill and not enjoy the view would be horrendous. So I took my time and as I took each step upwards I felt closer and closer to Him. As I finally reached the tower, I walked to the side of the tower where my friends sat. I was pleased with one of God’s many gifts to see at the top of this steep hill there were sheep! It was so joyous to just sit, take pictures, and pet the sheep.
Right after meeting with the sheep, I went on my own to the other side of the tower. I sat right at the edge of the hill and just started journaling. The first 5 days of the trip I had spent my time getting closer with a special group of girls: Anna Brunick, Grace Galvez, and Megan Piston. It was so wonderful getting to know each and every one of them more and more, but at the conclusion of Sunday I decided I really need to step out of my comfort zone. I devoted my time to not only building new relationships with the others, but I also really really wanted to feel closer to God as well. To do so, I reflected on my week through my journal. I wrote times where I felt one with God and I also wrote times where I didn’t really feel a presence. One of the key points that really stood out to me seeing glimpses of Him was the youth service from Sunday night. Everything about the service got me more and more excited to praise Him. The youth at the church were EXTREMELY inclusive, and the service was very different from anything I had ever been a part of. It was really just great overall.
At this point of the reading you are probably thinking to yourself, “Just get on with it! We all read Anna and Megan’s point of view from Sunday! We want to know about Monday!!!” So to get on with it, after journaling I gathered with my friends and ate a delicious lunch. Post lunch, we all journeyed back down the hill saying our sweet goodbyes to the views, sheep, and tower. Once we got to flat surface, we made our way to the Chalice Well. The Chalice Well looks just like the pictures; very beautiful! My favorite part of venturing at the Chalice Well was drinking from the lion’s head a taste of iron heavy water! It was amazing, to say the least. (And the Glastonbury health department tests always that it is safe and good.)
After we had all finished our peaceful time at the Well, we started our walk to Saint John the Baptist church for discussion. We discussed love. In more depth, we learned that love is caring. Love is not a feeling, nor an emotion. It was cool changing my perspective on love. Additionally, we learned about the sacrament of marriage. We did a mock marriage with Anna and Peter. It was a very humorous, yet meaningful way to learn about one of the seven sacraments of God.
When we were done in the church, we traveled back to the bus. Again, another long bus ride, but getting back to the Privett Center was pleasing. My group was in charge of dinner. Hayden made the meat chili, Eliza made the vegetable chili, Ben set the table and put out waters, while I made the salad. After dinner we did Compline and that just about completes the day! As of now it is 9:44 PM and we have lights out at 11:15 PM. I miss you all and cannot wait to continue the travels, but it will be nice to come home! Goodnight!
Hello everyone back home!! I wanted to start by saying we all miss you so much and hope you all had a great Sunday!! Our Sunday started by all 17 of us venturing to Saint Peter’s church for Morning Prayer. The service was very cool because it was unlike anything any of us had experienced before, except for Father Bob of course ;) haha! We stayed after for coffee and biscuits with the members of the congregation. Our group doubled the amount of people in attendance and according to one of the members of the church, we lowered the average age of the people in the church by 30 years! As we walked out, we noticed there were sheep (baaahhhhh)!! We went over the fence to the overgrown lawn to try and get closer to the sheep, however, when Megan approached the sheep, they ran away in fright but they were still cute from a distance!
Following the service, we traveled to Tolpuddle where we learned about the six Tolpuddle martyrs. We stopped at the museum honoring these six men because we learned about the importance of standing up for what you believe in.
Next, we traveled back to Salisbury for tea time! We went to the cutest cafe right outside the Cathedral with amazing views of it. A few of us tried the traditional cream tea and it was delicious! (P.S. Mom, this is Anna. I tried the tea and I actually liked it! However, I put more milk than tea into my cup and added three sugar cubes hehe). After taking the break for tea and other refreshments, we split into our groups to discuss about things we thought needed to be changed for the last few days of our trip such as more bonding time! All in all, it was really good we all got to discuss in our separate groups before coming back together because it allowed us to acknowledge things that everyone agreed with.
Next, we took a very short drive to Saint Paul’s for our Eucharist. The church was so cute because they had lots of string lights and the chairs were set up in a way that we were not used to. As soon as we walked in, we were immediately welcomed by the members of the church. The youth group introduced themselves before we all sat down for our service. The service was full of a lot of music and reflection and it was a very interesting experience to say the least. Following the service, the church served dinner which was white sticky rice and vegetarian curry. It was tasty! Probably our favorite part of the day came next! All of us kids go to go to a separate room to hang out with all of the kids in the youth group! We played pool, talked about sports, ate pudding, and took pictures! Sadly, we did not get to stay very long as we were far away from the Privett Centre.
Our bus ride home was so beautiful because we got to see the sunset over the vast farmland. It was a great ending to a great day getting to see all of God’s beauty. We arrived home and said our evening prayers before enjoying more bonding time together. I know we were all so thankful for this day and for all of the little blessings we got to see today whether it was seeing the cutest dog named Poppy, yummy ice cream from The Bell Tower Cafe, or getting to hang out with other kids our age. By this time tomorrow, we will be preparing for Peter’s Birthday!
Since he cannot see this, I will mention what we are doing for him! He had a large 1.5 liter water bottle that he lost so Grace bought him a new one along with a very fashionable shirt from the very British store called New Look. We are making ice cream sundaes as well for his birthday dessert! I am sure you all will hear more about it in the next few days but as for now, God Bless and I hope all is well back home! We love you and wish everyone a good night!
~Anna and Megan P. and Grace
The day began with an 8:00 breakfast, then a long bus ride to the town of Salisbury. We started with a bang by taking a tour of the Salisbury Cathedral spire with our tour guide, Ray. We climbed over 340 stairs in order to reach the top of the spire and walk out on the balcony, which had an amazing view of the town of Salisbury. Once we got down and out of the spire we had a nice homemade lunch on the cathedral front lawn.
After lunch, we had a very taxing tour with our amazing tour guide, Rodney!! Oh Rodney, what a guy. While on our tour we heard the beautiful organ as well as a choir accompanied by an orchestra. With the open space it was a truly moving experience. Once we finished our tour, we headed over to the market place. Megan headed out with the rest of the girls for ANOTHER shopping trip while Mr. Jim, Peter, Hayden, and I visited a music shop as well as a vinyl record pop up shop in the market. Then, we hopped back into the bus and took a quick drive over to Old Sarum. Old Sarum is where the cathedral was originally located before it was in Salisbury. We took a short amount of time in Old Sarum to reflect on our day and take notes in our journal. We then got back on the bus to take the long journey home.
When we finally got home, team Nona: Mrs. Anna, Megan P, Anna B, Olivia H, and I, made tacos for the group. Megan P. made the refried beans, Anna B. cut up the lettuce and tomatoes, Olivia H. cut up the onion and set the table, Mrs. Anna baked the taco shells, while I cooked and seasoned the meat.
To finish our day off, we played outside on the nearby playground, and then headed over to the Holy Trinity Privett church for Compline.
Here concludes our day!
-Megan P and Parker P
Yesterday was a day for leaving Belgium and moving in to our home for the next 6 nights. We had a wonderful time in Ypres. Ben and Olivia gave a glimpse into our powerful time at the cemetery and Menin Gate. We packed up and walked 25 minutes or so to find where our bus had to park and started the journey back to England.
There were delays at the ferry, but about two hours later than planned we arrived at the Privett Centre near Alton in Hampshire. No events happened yesterday so the pilgrims were off the writing duty. We are just posting some pics from our ferry crossing and our new home.
We are being filled with blessings of our Anglican Church heritage. More to come.
Well, we started the day off by waking up early to the sound of not only one, but four different alarms. We got on the “coach” which took us to the Dover ferry location. After a long wait, we finally got on the ferry and experienced choppy seas on our journey across the English Channel. When we arrived in Calais, we hopped back on the coach and made our way to the Somme American Cemetery. We met up LTC. Terry (TJ) Martin, who told us the history of the significance and meaning of the cemetery. We had the chance to self-reflect on how we were affected. After self-reflection, we departed from the cemetery and started on our way toward Ypres, Belgium. While we were here, we witnessed the Last Post ceremony in which Peter and Zoe placed a wreath at the Menin Gate. This is a ceremony that has been done on every-single day since 1922. To complete the day, we all went out for some ice cream and chocolate.
Quote of the Day:
“We aren’t here to slay, we’re here to pray.” - Peter
~Ben and Olivia
It’s only day two of this journey and we have already experienced so much. The morning started with a painful walk through a field of overgrown peas while on our way to Saint John the Baptist’s Church which Hayden talked about yesterday. There, we had our morning prayer and talked about journaling. After walking back to the hostel, we hopped on the bus and headed to Canterbury Cathedral (there were no peas on the bus). When we got to the church, we participated in a Eucharist in the crypt of the cathedral. We then headed to yet another church called St. Martins, the oldest church in England that still has services. A nice lady called Rosemary told us all about the church’s history. It’s crazy to think that those walls have been soaking up 1,400 years of prayers. We took some time and shopped around Canterbury after that. Don’t worry, we only we only took one wrong turn and used the buddy system.
After shopping, we took half an hour and contemplated three questions, in a private room in the cathedral, Father Bob asked us: “Who are you? Where are you going? How are you going to get there?” Next, on our agenda was Evensong. Their men’s choir chanted part of the service and sang the Psalms. We were all hungry after the service and split up for dinner. Half of us ate Fish and Chips and the other half had sushi which was brought to us on a conveyer belt. Our last activity in Canterbury was a candlelight tour of the Cathedral. It was peaceful and beautiful. We were the only tourists in the cathedral. We laid on the floor and took in all of the details and work put into the architectural design. After a long yet contemplative day, we headed back to our hostel where we are now sitting typing this beautiful work of art. It was lit fam. Thank you all for your continual support. Lots of love to all of our family an friends. We miss you and wish you were here with us.
Megan (B.) and Zoe
Hello Parents, siblings, friends and fellow congregation members,
Before you ask... the flight was good and the tour of London was great, but that is not what I am going to talk about. I am going to talk about a little church tucked back in the middle of nowhere, The Village of Doddington. About a mile hike from the Palace Farm Hostel, and surrounded by the sounds of sheep, is St. John the Baptist. This church is not dedicated to St. John himself, but to the beheading of St. John, and believed to be one of only a couple churches in the world to be dedicated to such. The church possibly dates from as early as the Saxon period in England, and is mentioned in history from 1066 and the time of William the Conqueror. It was actually given to the inhabitants of Doddington as a gift to be supported by the local government so as to not have to take a collection from the poor farmers of the area. The church itself is beautiful, not to mention the stained glass windows. The church is kept up and is used regularly, as well as is open to the public.
Thank you for all of your support throughout the last year to make this possible for us.
Hello, to anybody who is currently reading.
This has been quite the trip so far already. I woke up at 8 am on June 18th inside of my house, and from then until (Writing at 9:05 PM) now I've been up for at least 30 hours, with 2 hours of quick little nap time from both on the airplane and the bus.
London was quite a mix of Rome and New York City (both having equally unforgivable traffic), with its interesting architecture mixed in with a unique modern twist, and the bus tour was a good way to appreciate it. At around 1, we stopped right by the tower of London to have England's signature fish and chips (yet I didn’t have any due to the fact that I was too tired), and enjoyed new experiences with foreign coffee. It was a sweet little delight. For dinner, Zoe, Megan (B), Grace, and I all made both a vegetarian pasta and a regular meat sauce dish. David was acting as a head chef the whole time, and he made sure to kept us in order, to keep the supper from destroying itself. Things are going well so far, and tomorrow we will be heading to Canterbury for almost 12 hours! Have a wonderful day!
We are young people on a spiritual journey that began five years ago. We are members of Old Donation Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach. These ten days in England, France, and Belgium are a culmination of our study of the Christian faith. We are on a pilgrimage of exploration and discernment as we approach the sacrament of Confirmation in the Fall.