Sir Walter Raleigh:
"Give me my scallop-shell of quiet.
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of Salvation,
My gown of glory (hope's true gage),
And then I'll take my pilgrimage."
Scallop shells all ready for tomorrow - over 1 Kg of them to be precise!
The pilgrims returning home carried the shell back with them as proof of their pilgrimage or a memento of their long journey to Santiago de Compostela, home of the remains of Saint James the Apostle. The scallop shell symbol originally found its way into heraldry as a badge of those who had been on the pilgrimage to Compostela, although later it became the symbol of pilgrimage in general. Light and small, the scallop shell was ideal for gathering water from a spring and useful also as a plate.
Winston Churchill's family coat of arms includes a scallop, as does John Wesley's (and as a result the scallop shell is used as an emblem of Methodism).
At the beginning of a new phase in our life as a parish the Methodist Covenant Prayer is one that we might consider:
A covenant with God
'I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.'
Bon Voyage...to all of us in Saint Nicholas'!