The British Pilgrimage Trust believes that everyone should feel welcomed to make pilgrimage among Britain’s landscape. We promote inclusive pilgrimage in Britain, and encourage shared access to holy places found upon the path.
So much of modern politics is about division and separation, especially along religious lines. We believe that it is time to re-open the landscape of cultural/ spiritual journey-making in Britain to people of all faiths and none.
Where else but a pilgrimage path can a Muslim, a Christian, a Pagan and an Atheist all walk together side by side, sharing a path and a destination, while maintaining the integrity of their spiritual traditions? Pilgrimage offers this opportunity, to create a spiritual commons, a shared space free from identity politics and division, where pilgrims of all paths can walk together in peace in modern Britain. We believe such openness to be vitally necessary for the future of British spiritual community and identity.
To help encourage this, we have designed a symbol of common welcome for British Holy Places: OTA.
After all, pilgrimage is an ancient human ritual that has been practiced globally throughout history. It no more belongs to a single faith than ‘music’ or ‘meeting’. It is a universal tradition.
So it makes sense to champion openness by announcing that in modern Britain, pilgrimage can be made by anyone, with or without faith. But at the same time, it makes sense to promote shared access to the oldest spiritual centres in the landscape – which in Britain is often Anglican churches. We want churches, through the action of pilgrimage, to become shared space of spiritual importance, regardless of faith or non-faith identity. We believe that increasing openness is crucial to achieve this aim.
We hope that wherever you see this symbol, you can expect a warm welcome for all pilgrims.
Of course, it should be noted that the rules of basic respect are always in force. Everywhere. One pilgrim’s tradtion should not disturb other who share the space or come after.
See you on the path!