Cycling is Prayerful – Revd Canon Jay Colwill

15th July 2021

A keen cyclist and canon missioner at Southwark Cathedral is getting on his bike to ride the length and breadth of England as a prayerful journey to celebrate our country and all its diversity, and to raise much needed funds to alleviate food poverty.

Dear England … cycling as a prayerful journey around our country.

The Revd Canon Jay Colwill is riding the new 2,000 mile Cathedrals Cycle Route that links every one of our 42 Church of England cathedrals over the next 24 days starting out from Southwark.

For him, cycling is prayerful, it is part of his meditative life as a Christian, and inspired by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell’s book Dear England and the recent debate about England, he wants to bring these elements of his faith together as he cycles the length and breadth of England’s towns and cities.

“There’s been a lot of focus around England and what that means just recently, part of my motivation behind this cycle pilgrimage is to pray for this nation and celebrate the diversity of this country, my country, every part of it and every one of us who is a part of it.

“I get the privilege to see all of England from the saddle, not just the rolling green pastures, but all of it in its entirety, and I will pray for it as I see it,’ he added.

He is raising funds for Together Southwark which works with the most vulnerable in South London and parts of East Surrey to alleviate food and material poverty, and tackle the growing issue of social isolation and loneliness.

You can help him here.

He said:

“I am humbled that people have already put their faith in me by sponsoring me and just the fact of that, motivates me.

“There is something about my own spirituality that values patient endurance and solitude, and this cycle ride speaks into that.

“I will be testing myself in the service of the Lord and using the endurance I need for this ride to empathise and pray for the people I know, their struggles, and to pray for the nation, our England, right now,’ he added.

Jay will set off every morning after morning prayer (using the CoE app) and starts out from Southwark Cathedral tomorrow ( Friday 16 July) on the first leg of the 2,000 mile route to Rochester and Canterbury. He hopes to cycle around 75 – 80 miles a day and will be staying with members of the wider Cathedral community over the coming days as he cycles between each of the cathedrals.

Jay was part of the team behind the Cathedrals Cycle Route with Shaun Cutler, the architect of the project, which saw its launch from Newcastle Cathedral, the most northerly Anglican cathedral, on May 30. Over 250 cyclists took part in the different legs between each of the cathedrals – Jay joined Shaun and the team to ride between Southwark, Rochester and Canterbury – and on Saturday 10 July, 42 days later, a small team arrived back into Newcastle having raised over £5,000 for different charities tackling mental health and social isolation.