1. Is the Wesley Pilgrimage in England a Wesley heritage tour?
No, the Wesley Pilgrimage in England IS NOT a heritage tour. We will be travelling to and around England as pilgrims, not tourists. The places we visit will have direct connection to John and Charles Wesley and the development of the Methodist movement.
As Pilgrims, we are persons who journey to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion. Pilgrims seek communion with God and deeper knowledge of themselves through travel and experiencing places made sacred by past events and faithful people. Pilgrims immerse themselves into the local culture. They honor the people and traditions of the places they visit. Pilgrims are expectant people; they expect to see and experience God in people, places, and events along the way.
As pilgrims our life together will be shaped by the United Methodist rule of life.
“A rule of life is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that provides structure and direction for growth in holiness. It fosters gifts of the Spirit in personal life and human community, helping to form us into the persons God intends us to be” (Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast):
We begin each day with Morning Prayer & Eucharist. Each day will end with Compline (Night Prayer). Your participation is an important part of the pilgrimage experience. Our daily worship is shaped by the liturgy of the Church, adapted from the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Offices & Services of the Order of St. Luke.
Pilgrims will not sleep in 4-5 star hotels. We stay at more humble, yet very comfortable, Christian institutions. Most nights (7) will be at Sarum College in Salisbury, an Anglican school of theology and pastoral training located in the close of Salisbury Cathedral. Sarum College is also a first-rate B & B. We spend one night at the Hayes Conference Center in Swanwick on our way to Epworth. The final two nights lodging are at the Royal Foundation of St. Katharine, an Anglican retreat center in east London.
2. How much should I budget for airfare to London and other expenses during the pilgrimage?
Airline tickets to London will cost $1,200 – $2,000. We strongly recommend you purchase your ticket through a travel agent. He or she will be able to find you the best fare and itinerary to meet your needs. A travel agency will also provide services like travel insurance and help if flights are delayed. Tamra Simmons at Direct Travel will be happy to help you. You may reach Tamra at 615-327-2720, ext. 376.
Early arrival: We strongly recommend pilgrims plan to arrive in the UK at least 24 hours before the pilgrimage begins at 1:00 pm on Monday, July 9th. This will allow you to get a good night’s sleep and recover from the inevitable jet-lag that accompanies a trans-Atlantic flight.
Arriving early means incurring extra expense for lodging. Pilgrims are welcome to arrive at Sarum College early. Bed and breakfast for Sunday will cost £65 for an en-suite single room. If you choose to stay in London before heading to Salisbury then a hotel room will cost £75-£300 per night. We will provide recommendations for overnight lodging in London upon request.
Transport from London to Salisbury: Train or bus (coach)? That’s the choice pilgrims will need to make when deciding how to get from London to Salisbury. The train is generally faster and, therefore, more expensive. The bus (coach) will take longer and is the more economical choice.
A single (one-way) train ticket costs £31.40-£38.80 (~$49-61).
A single coach ticket costs £16.70 (~$26).
Meals: The pilgrimage registration fee includes breakfast every day and lunch and dinner most days. Pilgrims will be responsible for purchasing 3 lunches and 4 suppers. Meal costs may vary from £7.00 ($11) to £20.00 ($31), depending upon where and what you choose to eat. Pubs tend to provide good quality food at a good value.
Getting around London: Pilgrims will have a free evening in London on July 17. If you want to explore the city, the best way to get around is on public transportation (Tube & bus). A Day Travelcard is the best value. It costs £8.90 ($14) and may be used on the subway (Tube) and buses all day and night.
Currency exchange rate: I have provided figures in UK currency (£) because the exchange rate is always changing. To convert £ to $ I recommend you go to http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/.
XE Currency Converter also provides an excellent free app for use with Android and iOS mobile devices.
3. How important is the pre-pilgrimage reading assigned by the leaders?
The pilgrimage experience is enhanced when pilgrims do their homework. If you’ve graduated from seminary, you’ve probably read some of the books we assign. Re-reading them will refresh your memory of the material. Visiting Epworth, Oxford, Bristol, and London will make the story of the Wesley brothers and the early Methodist people come to life. Several pilgrims commented the experience transformed the two-dimensional written word into a three-dimensional experience. There are also details that those who read the books will pick up on that are lost to those who do not.
4. What’s English weather like in mid-July?
Typical Summer weather in England is warm and dry. High temperatures during the day will range from 70s to 80s (F). Keep in mind that few buildings in Great Britain are air conditioned. There is no air conditioning at Sarum College. Staff will provide a fan for your room upon request.
Be prepared for rain. Bring an umbrella and light rain jacket.
You can monitor the UK weather forecast at http://uk.weather.com/