I recently went for a walk at Bradwell on Sea, where the Chapel of St Peter on the Wall has stood for many years, since St Cedd brought Christianity to this part of the world.
The spreading of the Christian faith in this country began 1300 years ago when there were people working in Ireland and Scotland, spreading the good news of the Gospel.
In Ireland, Patrick established many monasteries and from there Columba went to Iona, a very small island off the West Coast of Scotland, to establish a monastery and other Christian centres. From Columba’s monastery, a man called Aidan was sent from Iona to set up a monastery at Lindisfarne in the North-East, where Anglo-Saxon boys could be trained to become priests and missionaries. It was here that Cedd and his brothers learnt to read and write in Latin, and were trained to teach others about the Christian faith.
The four brothers were all ordained as priests and two of them, Cedd and Chad, later went on to become bishops. Cedd’s first mission was to the Midlands and he was later sent to the East Saxons, (Essex.)
St Peter’s Chapel, originally built of wood as a place of Christian Worship when Cedd arrived in 653, was quickly made more permanent with stone from the nearby fort. It is now a Grade 1 listed building and is a special place visited by many people each year and is host to an annual Diocesan Pilgrimage every July. It is one of those places which can be described as ‘thin,’ where the distance between heaven and earth seems minimal and where God feels almost tangible.
If you have any spare time, I would recommend a visit to the Chapel. It is open every day, and there are services on Sunday evenings at 6pm throughout July and August.
The car park is approximately 850m from the Chapel so there is a short walk to get there. There are many other walks at Bradwell on Sea and next to the Chapel is the Othona Community which was founded in 1946 as a way of providing a safe place for people of different faiths, backgrounds and cultures to meet, following World War 2. And Othona continues to thrive as a place of faith where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to worship, study and play. I have a few leaflets with details of their programme if anyone is interested or you can find out more by going to www.othonaessex.org.uk
Jesus often took himself off to a quiet place to spend time with God in prayer. It is important that, as Christians, we all take some time to recharge our batteries, to be with God, to pray and to listen and I encourage you, this summer, to do that. If you need any ideas as to how you might best do this, I am very happy to chat with you.
I hope to see you around.
Take care and God bless,