Alan Kreider, Regent’s Park College, Oxford: 10 May 2000
Let me tell you about two of my recent pilgrimages. In late February Eleanor and I went to Lindisfarne, Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland. We were driven by a companion of the Northumbria community, and hoped to arrive in time for Sunday morning eucharist at St Mary’s Church. Mercifully the tides were low and our trip across the causeway was uneventful, save for our awareness of the immense, wild beauty of the island. The eucharist was led by David Adam, vicar of Lindisfarne, and author of numerous books of prayers in the Celtic tradition. After the service we wandered into the ruins of the priory, in the midst of which loomed the statue of Aidan, apostle to Northumbria and bishop - the beloved saint who evangelized "not on horseback but on foot", who was "a friend of the poor and a real father to the wretched," who was amazed when he saw a "humble king." We then went to stay with companions of the community who interpreted recent developments on the island. Numerous Christian initiatives are now based there - retreat houses, museums, shops, and their own Christian Heritage of Northumbria project. Farming and fishing, the customary business of the islanders, were being superceded by Christian enterprises and tourism. Signs advertised a forthcoming Celtic Arts Festival, to which painters and poets, singers and dance artists, priests and players would gather on the island for a week of performances, ceilidhs and worship - one of them being "Prayer around the Cross Celtic-Taize style."