Pilgrimage – An Old Idea Finding a New Meaning

The Revd Dr Richard Frazer

Dr Frazer of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, whose book on travelling the Camino, Travels with a Stick, has been influential in establishing the current discussion in the Church on this subject, reviews both biblical references about how wild places can awaken the spirit and some earlier experiences in the history of the Church of pilgrimage, and how one may find local sites that once were the focus of pilgrims. He discusses how 'the eternal seeps through the physical', both physical activity and the physicality of the landscape through which we travel, which as we become one with it begins to 'read us, interrogate us'. People may go on pilgrimage because they have lost faith in the institutions of religion. These potential springs of refreshment have become blocked. The Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum and the revival of Scottish pilgrim routes. Some disparage this movement, but there is always a place for revisiting old practices and re-framing them in a new context.

The Record, Volume 57 2022, pp44-56
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Richard Frazer has been minister at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh since 2003. He studied in Scotland, England and the USA and has worked in Italy and the USA. He founded the Grassmarket Community Project www.grassmarket.org that takes an innovative and theologically rooted approach to supporting some of the most vulnerable. He is also the founder of the Greyfriars Charteris Centre, a centre for wellbeing, social enterprise and community development in the former Kirk o’ Field Church www.CharterisCentre.com He has written a book on pilgrimage, Travels with a Stick (Birlinn 2019) and is currently working on an another about community development and the Grassmarket Community Project. He is married to Kate, a psychotherapist and counsellor and has three grown up children.