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A spiritual reflection on Scafell Pike

First published on: 18th October 2022

Revd Grace Thomas and Radzi Chinyanganya embark on a pilgrimage up Scafell Pike, paying attention to the environment and reflecting on religious broadcasting at the BBC over the past 100 years. Hear their thoughts in Sunday WorshipA century of spiritual reflection on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 23 October at 8.10am.

The Revd Grace Thomas, Vicar of St Anne's Clifton and St Thomas' Clifton Green, and Diocesan Environment Officer for Manchester Diocese, said:

"This month, the BBC celebrates 100 years of broadcasting, and I was asked to co-present one of a series of Sunday Worship programmes looking at this achievement. This involved climbing Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England, with Radzi Chinyanganya, Songs of Praise presenter. The idea was that, on the climb, we would reflect on journeys, pilgrimage, hope and the steadfast broadcasting of the BBC.Inside the church at Scafell Pike

"When we arrived, we discovered that one of the smallest churches in England was nestled at the foot of Scafell Pike. We changed our plans to allow us to wander to the church after the climb. This ended up being one of the most moving segments for me, as lining the stone walls of the chapel were dozens of brass plaques, many commemorating people who had lost their lives on the pike.

"Embarking on the climb in the pouring rain, we waded through the broken banks of a stream before we even got to the foot of the mountain! We were unable to reach the peak because the weather conditions were too dangerous. On the way down, I reflected on how sometimes it is hard to leave a place of such beauty and go back to everyday life, where the news is full of uncertainty. I love the poem ‘Tree’, written by Azariah France-Williams, Rector at Ascension, Hulme, which is a way of responding to difficulty with acts of hope. He kindly recorded this for us to include in the final programme. 

"My feet were swimming in water and my sandwiches turned soggy in my rucksack, but it was, nevertheless, a transformative experience."

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