It was born in lockdown and now, three years later, members have travelled hundreds of miles, to meet in person for the first time. Durham Cathedral’s online Community of Prayer is 370 members strong but the majority of participants had never seen each other, or the cathedral, except through a screen.
Hundreds travelled to the Cathedral buildings and grounds for a very special pilgrimage.
“Members of this group have been joining us daily for worship via our live stream for three years now and count themselves very much part of the cathedral family”, commented Durham Cathedral’s Canon Charlie Allen, who established the Community of Prayer.
“We have been delighted to welcome them on behalf of the Northeast as for many, this was their first time physically in Durham itself and, for some, their first time within the UK,” he said.
Durham was one of the first cathedrals to livestream its daily services just days after the UK went into Covid lockdown in March 2020 and by September 2020 it had launched a Community of Prayer in response to the growing number of loyal online worshippers.
The pilgrimage brought people together in person for prayers and worship. They were also given behind the scenes tours, VIP access to the cathedral museum and even got to try their hand at stone masonry in the cathedral’s works yard.
The group went on to visit locations linked to St Cuthbert and other Northern Saints, together with visits to Jarrow Hall, the Angel of the North, a boat trip around the Farne Islands and a walk along ‘The Pilgrim Way’ at Lindisfarne.
Anne Collins from the Community of Prayer said:
“I found the Community right at the very beginning of lockdown when we were all searching for a way to pray and to be in a community”.
“Since then the Community has continued to be a lifeline through the rhythm of prayer and for the connection to a place both sacred and historic”, she added. “I look forward to continuing my pilgrimage with those I now journey alongside”, she said.
Durham Cathedral’s Community of Prayer calls itself ‘global’, with members from as far afield as Australia, Finland, Canada and the Philippines, as well as places closer to home. All have expressed a strong sense of ‘belonging’ to Durham Cathedral.
The cathedral says its Community of Prayer continues to grow, with over 500 people regularly connecting with its online daily services.