On Wednesday 18th September during “Good Relation Week”  Omagh Churches Forum held an open meeting to which they invited Rev David Cupples from Enniskillen to speak about his 960 km trek on the Camino de Santiago.  The photo below shows Rev David with Rev Eleanor Hayden, current Chair of Omagh Churches Forum and Mrs Esther Millar, Forum Secretary.   Rev Cupples entitled his talk  “Making Time and Space for God, lessons for the Pilgrim life from a journey along the Camino de Santiago”.

Rev Cupples said he was pleased that during Good Relations Week he could share some of his learning from the time he walked the Camino during his Sabbatical from ministry in the Presbyterian Church in Enniskillen during the summer of 2017. He said he would divide the session into a couple of areas i.e. the journey and lessons learnt and implications for Christian life.

His sabbatical gave him time for rest, renewal, and reflection. He began his journey in the south west of France and travelled 160 kms to join his main journey in northern Spain for 800kms to Santiago and a further journey to Finistaire.

The Rev Cupples explained that it was a time for him for withdrawal, scripture reading, prayer and meditation, and he wrote a journal, which has subsequently been used to write a book of meditations. As he travelled he met many interesting people as they too travelled the Camino. He said it was a time of simplicity, solitude and service. The service aspect being fundraising (£70K). Half of this goes to work in Aleppo and half to C. Dickson for work with refugees.

He spent much time each day making time and space for God. He read scripture listened to hymns and songs as he travelled and talked to God (very often not in formal prayers but chatting with God). He said he found times were very emotional, sometimes his journey was very lonely and at other times enlightening in listening to other pilgrims on their own journey and was impacted by some of the real life stories of other pilgrims and recognised the reality of pain and the power of listening.

Rev Cupples said that we all live in a world of broken relationships – political, religious, family, society, mental health/stress. He said that at times religion had been part of the problem rather than helping the problem. He referred back to Christ’s two commandments – Love God and Live peaceable lives with others in our community and the world. He used passages in Ephesians 5 and Galations 5 as our template.

He said there were hundreds of bridges on the Camino way and these he likened to the many opportunities we all have here to build or cross bridges with others, in our community or who we may not know yet.

We were left with a real challenge as to how we live life of a Christian Pilgrim locally today/tomorrow/next year.

E Millar