A group of twenty-two chaplains and spouses from across the Diocese in Europe, led by Bishop Robert and guided by James Buxton (Chaplain in Izmir), travelled to the Seven Churches of Revelation. 

The group was based in Izmir/Smyrna for six nights, and for one night at Pamukalle close to the site of ancient Laodicea. We visited the locations of each of the Seven Churches, and enjoyed seeing the spectacular remains of the ancient cities, especially at Ephesus, Pergamum, Sardis, Smyrna and Laodicea. Thyatira and Philadelphia are modern Turkish cities where there is less to see.

At each place we found a shady spot to read the appropriate letter, and do a Bible Study led by James. The Bishop summed up our discussion of each letter with prayer. It was an uplifting and challenging experience to hear the excerpts of Revelation read out in the cities to which they were addressed, and to imagine the difficulties and challenges faced by our brother and sister Christians in the late first century. 

As with all good pilgrimages we enjoyed conversation, fun, food and drink together, as well as a considerable amount of walking.  Moments on the long drives between the ancient cities gave the opportunity for introductions to the sites and prayer. On day four of our pilgrimage, the Bishop led a service of Baptism and Confirmation at the Church of St John the Evangelist Izmir at which four young Turkish adults, who had been baptised at Easter, were confirmed, and two young adults from St Nicolas Ankara, who had travelled to Izmir for the service, were baptised and confirmed. Many of the pilgrims attended the service and were greatly moved to see how Christ is calling disciples in our Anglican churches in Turkey.

James Buxton, Chaplain at St John the Evangelist, Izmir, Turkey