AN Alcester Reverend is getting set to walk 500 miles along the Camino de Santiago as part of a sabbatical that will also see him raise money for charities close to his heart.
Rev Martin Mills, Pastor of Alcester Baptist Church, will be walking 500 miles along the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St James) through northern Spain in May as part of a three month sabbatical – a period of extended study leave all accredited ministers are encouraged to take by the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) intended to stimulate and refresh them in their vocation.
As he does so he will be spending time with a mix of Christian communities including the Taizé in eastern France and Iona in the Hebrides as well as walking pilgrimage routes, and the Pastor is encouraging people to support him and his chosen charities as he goes.
Money raised will be split equally between the Alcester Day Centre, which supports people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia and their carers in Alcester, and BMS Action Teams, a programme through which young people volunteer on short-term projects overseas.
Rev Mills said: “I hope to hear the stories of other pilgrims and find out what motivates people to undertake this arduous journey. I would like to gain an understanding of the questions people are asking that the church is currently failing to engage with so we can to develop new patterns of church life that do address these issues.
“It is also a chance to raise money for Alcester Day Care, which provides care in the form of a safe and supporting environment for people with dementia to enjoy in which they are engaged and stimulated. Alcester Baptist Church is privileged to be associated with and to help support this valuable service.”
Over 250,000 pilgrims with diverse – and not necessarily religious- backgrounds from all over the world walk parts of the Camino each year, and the Rev Mills will be walking the Camino Francés from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela.
To see him off on his way, this Saturday (April 22) from 3pm at Alcester Baptist Church, Rev Mills will be shown the support of the local churches with a short service and blessing from Rev Father Paul Gunther OSB, followed by tea and cake.
Local people can share Rev Mills’ journey by following his progress Facebook at www.facebook.com/martin.mills.3950 and he will be providing regular updates where internet connections allow.
Visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/martinmillscamino to support Rev Mills and the chosen charities.