August 19-30, 2020
Led by The Very Rev. Steven L. Thomason, Cathedral Dean & The Rev. Canon Cristi Chapman
Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, Las Vegas, NV
The shape of this 11-day trip is contemplative and communal, drawing on the ancient wisdom of Celtic spirituality and the monastic rhythms of worship, prayer, and life in community, while also breathing in the serene beauty of the landscape. Those who make the trip will have a keen sense of taking their place in the long lineage of pilgrims who have traveled to the same holy sites for more than a thousand years. The spirits of these faithful forebears will buoy our spirits as we make our way.
We will begin the journey in Northumbria, the beautiful borderlands of northeast England with our center in lovely Durham. We will worship in the vast 12th century Durham Cathedral, site of shrines to St. Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede (whose 8th Century writings have gifted us with knowledge of these early Christians). There will be time to explore Durham Castle and stroll along the serene River Wear.
Day excursions from Durham will take us to medieval monastic ruins, ancient churches of historical import, including the magnificent Hexham Abbey, and we will cross the tidal causeway onto the Holy Island of Lindisfarne where St. Aidan established a monastery in 634.
After leaving Northumbria, we will cross into Scotland, and spend time in the wonderful city of Glasgow, visiting ancient sites and modern ones in this cosmopolitan city which has served as the site for so much history. Some may want to visit the beautiful University of Glasgow campus founded in 1451.
We then will travel onward to the westerly isle of Iona, where Cuthbert landed in 563 to establish a mission, and where we will spend four nights in seaside lodging near the ancient Iona Abbey. The island is one of those “thin places” that draw heaven and earth a bit closer, affording the quiet space for the holy to break into our lives anew. The Iona experience should prove to be a fitting capstone to the pilgrimage.
We hope you will join us. Space is limited so register soon to reserve your spot.
Bookings with initial deposit payment should be received by Friday, February 28, 2020. Bookings received after that date may be subject to surcharge, depending on flight availability. Final balance due by Thursday, April 30, 2020.
- Hotel Stays
- Tour Guide
- Single Room Supplement
- Travel Insurance
- Laundry and times of a personal nature
- Optional Tours
Day 1: Wednesday, August 19
We meet at Sea-Tac Airport late afternoon to catch our Virgin Airlines non-stop flight to London’s Heathrow Airport. Dinner will be served on board.
Day 2: Thursday, August 20
Landing in London in the early afternoon, we will make our way by high quality private coach to the cathedral city of Durham in the North East of England when have cleared UK immigration and customs. Dinner will be provided at the hotel this evening.
Day 3: Friday, August 21
Today we will begin our pilgrimage by getting to know Durham Cathedral. After an opening pilgrimage Eucharist, we will have a guided tour of this breathtaking Norman building, built to be the final resting place of the beloved Celtic saint Cuthbert. After a quick break for lunch (not included in the tour price) we will drive south to visit the ruins of Fountains Abbey, once one of the most important and powerful Cistercian abbeys in northern England. We will be back in Durham late afternoon.
Day 4: Saturday, August 22
Our day will be devoted to exploring Holy Island, also known as Lindisfarne. After an early breakfast, we travel by bus to this remote location that was the base for the Celtic mission in Northumbria. We will arrive on the island at around 10.30 in the morning, and stay until mid afternoon. This will give us the opportunity for worship, learning, praying and walking. We will be back in Durham at around 6pm.
Day 5: Sunday, August 23
This morning we join the local community for the principal Cathedral Eucharist. For those who wish, there is also the possibility of attending choral Matins before the Eucharist. In the afternoon we will visit the delightful market town of Hexham, where a medieval former abbey serves as the parish church. This was once the place where St. Wilfrid was based, and we will learn of his legacy as we explore the church and then have some free time in the town. We will be back in Durham around 5.30pm.
Day 6: Monday, August 24
This morning we will depart Durham and head for Scotland’s second city, Glasgow. Here we will explore the Church of Scotland cathedral, which is the oldest building in the city, dedicated to the Celtic saint Kentigern, also known as St. Mungo. After a tour of the cathedral we will also have time in the adjoining Museum of Religious Life and Art, before heading to our city center hotel, where we will spend one night.
Day 7: Tuesday, August 25
Today we will make our journey to Iona, leaving after breakfast on our bus, which will take us to the city of Oban on the west coast. After a break for lunch (not included in the tour price) we will take a ferry to the island of Mull, drive across the island, and finally catch the passenger ferry across to Iona. Once on Iona, we will make the short walk to our hotel. Dinner will be provided tonight and each night we are on the island.
Days 8, 9 & 10: Wednesday, August 26 - Friday, August 28
We have three full days to explore this unique island on which Celtic Christianity was first planted by St. Columba in the sixth century. During our time together, there will be the chance to visit the medieval abbey, and to take part in a walking pilgrimage on the island. In addition we will have times of worship and silence, and wonderful opportunities simply to explore the beautiful landscape of this enchanting place.
Day 11: Saturday, August 29
This morning we leave Iona after breakfast, and retrace our steps back to the mainland, breaking for lunch in Oban (not included in the tour price). From here our bus will take us to our final hotel, located in exquisite countryside overlooking the estuary of the River Clyde. We will enjoy a final dinner here to mark the end of our journey together.
Day 12: Saturday, August 30
After a leisurely breakfast, we make the short journey to Glasgow Airport, flying initially to JFK, where we change planes for Seattle, landing back at 9:42 pm, ready to share with our friends all we have learned from the Celtic saints of Britain..