A pilgrim’s progress

I was recently looking at some notes that I had made at the beginning of my ministry. I was struck by the way in which I still travel with many of these thoughts – they have not left my pilgrim sack. Let me open up the sack and share some with you now:

“Understanding that parish life offers a great diversity and privilege.”

I continue to be amazed how I am invited into peoples’ lives and be offered an insight into their internal worlds. This is a deeply humbling experience and one that lies at the heart of parish ministry. Thank you for allowing me this privilege!

“Using a specialist ministry, a specific skill or interest and using that in a vocational sense as a gift for the church.”  

Within the diversity and generality of parish ministry I believe that it is a core skill of a priest to enhance and nurture gifts which the Holy Spirit brings to light. These gifts could be many and various but it seems to me that art, music-making and a therapeutic approach to community life makes sense at this time, in this place. I would like to offer myself to further explore pastoral supervision in my role as priest but also seek to explore how I might use pottery as a way of expressing faith and nurture community life. But what is your ministry? What are you skills? How could you use your God-given gifts to enlarge and enliven life for others?

“How can  the gospel and matters of faith be communicated in a way that is authentic and real for those who have no experience of church?”  

This is a question which relates to mission and outreach, one which I still struggle with today. Perhaps we should concentrate more on what God is already doing and getting involved in that work. We are becoming a more outward-facing church (locally and globally). The Threshold is an example of how we can begin to communicate the gospel in a way that is new. It is transparent and authentic and speaks of the values which we want to nurture in our community. How is the Threshold and our church and gardens perceived by those who have no relationship with faith?

“The place of creativity – that which causes me to come alive – where spirituality, art and healing inter-connect. Where could these creative approaches be offered?”

I wonder what might happen if we dared to be courageous and offered to share and learn through creativity? One of our mission objectives is to be a place of creative learning. We might want to approach the catechesis – sermons, Lent courses, confirmation preparation, prayer groups – by means of creative play? What do you think?

I wonder what lies within your pilgrim’s sack? What gifts might you wish to share along the road?


Learn more about pilgrimage and the Christian response to life and creativity this Sunday at St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, 8am and 10am.

No matter where you are on the journey of faith, you are always welcome at St Michael & All Angels! See what’s going on by clicking here which will transport you to our website.


Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.