Sacred Places Journal
21 September 2001: Fulham and Southwark
Around London on the Tube, people holding newspapers with President Bush headlined: The Hour is Coming.
Tired after a long, lovely day that included a visit to Fulham Palace, the historic summer retreat of the Bishop of London-including Nicholas Ridley before he was hauled off to Oxford to be burnt so excruciatingly at the stake-we arrive at Southwark Cathedral.
This is the most appropriate place to begin my pilgrimage, as the medieval Augustinian priory here served as the meeting place for so many medieval pilgrims setting out on their journey to Canterbury-including Geoffrey Chaucer.
After Choral Evensong I stop at the shrine set up in the transept: An American flag, a spray of white flowers and a bank of candles. I light a candle and read the printed prayer: "Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and peace: Give to the people of the United States of America a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that they may use their liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
The entire nave is adorned with baskets of white flowers from the service held there earlier in the day-313 people who worked for a single Southwark company had died in New York. During Evensong we had prayed by name for those from this dioscese who had died in the Pentagon.
The pilgrimage theme continues as we eat supper in a restaurant decorated with scallop shells-the traditional emblem of pilgrims returning from the Holy Land.