Our pilgrimage to Papua New Guinea in August 2015 is a real adventure and the journey of a lifetime. The 23 pilgrims are preparing to leave the cosiness of home for a journey across the world to a land of rain forests and islands.
We are a small group from three countries, the U.K. , New Zealand and Australia.
Pilgrims from the UK are from the Norwich Diocese, including myself. Others have
been before, led by the Bishop of Lynn. Bishops of
Papua New Guinea have returned to Norwich, so in some sense it is a well travelled
This travel blog will be updated throughout the pilgrimage, as we arrive,and journey on,
the places we travel to and the people we meet. It will provide a snapshot of the
journey in pictures and words.
For pilgrims it will give a record of this special time and for those at home it is a chance to follow the journey as it happens.
As we make our preparations we gather clothes, apply for visas, buy the right insect
repellant, have inoculations. We also get ready in our thoughts and prayers.
Thoughts about the New world we will visit, the people we will meet and the
chance to see how God’s world is fulfilled in different ways.
In Papua New Guinea, there are times for celebrations.
Children and families, young and old, gather together with flowers, dancing and masks! The photo of the children getting ready is one of my favourites. It was taken from the last visit to PNG from the Norwich Diocese.
This blog of our pilgrimage is just starting and our journey is yet to begin. But the preparations are well underway, the itinerary is finished and on this site you can see where we are travelling too and the things we will be doing.
With less than 3 weeks before we will be setting foot in Port Moresby, it is time to look forward and make the final preparations. For me it is the time to make sure that my case or back pack is going to be able to hold all that I am planning to take.
As well as things for myself, there are things to take for children. I have lots of ideas for stories and fun and maybe even trying on the odd mask or two!
Papua New Guinea is 0.6 degrees south of the equator. it is an Oceanic country With offshore islands in Melanesia in the South West Pacific Ocean.
It is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world with 848 languages. It’s 7 million people live in mainly rural populations and in the few towns and cities.
The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire and there are earthquakes and active volcanoes. It is surrounded by coral reefs and in the highlands there are dense rainforest and a rugged terrain across the mountains, the highest of which is Mt Willhelm at 4,509 metres.
The islands are at the east of the main land and some of the pilgrims will be visiting New Britain Island.
We all arrived safely at Riverglenn, just outside Brisbane.
Three countries, three dioceses and 23 pilgrims shared time, lives and thoughts. We found out more about our journey to Papua New Guinea and the people we will meet. We learnt to say ‘ thank you ‘ tenke yu tru !
And we bought even more insect repellant for those ferocious mozzies.
At the end of the day we said Evening Prayer together and prayed for our journeys, the communities we are going too and our families that we have left behind for a while.
Tomorrow morning seems very close now and to me is unbelievable that in a few hours we will be flying to the beautiful lands of Papua New Guinea.
Once on our way in the Virgin plane the journey felt very real. What would we see, who would we meet, where would we go?
Our pilgrimage thoughts and prayers were with us all as we set off along the way.
We arrived in Port Moresby, where we were met by Bishop Denny. The heat of the day hit us as soon as we walked out of the smart airport. We travelled in a small bus to the Lutheran Guest House, where we were greeted and shown to our rooms. Basic but good accommodation, although the neighbours and the dogs and the road were very noisy throughout the night.
That evening was our first meeting with warriors, dancers and the church. Quite a culture shock! But amazing and beautiful people, and we were going to get to know them really well in the next two weeks.
First meeting with Papua New Guinea Warriors!
Four very scared bishops, and fortunately responses were good and we were allowed in to the feast. There followed the most spectacular warrior dance.
We celebrated Evening Prayer together, with Bishop Denny and Archbishop Clyde, even when the electricity failed! Afterwards we had the most amazing feast, songs and fellowship!
(As a note to followers to this blog, wifi and Internet systems are bit patchy! Will add more images as we can).
So far, absolutely brilliant welcome!
Under Bishop Denny’s house we gathered after prayers in the dark as the electricity had gone out, but that did not diminish the warmth, presence and light of God with us.