The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is to take part in an historic short ecumenical service at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich on November 7 at the start of a three-day visit to Norfolk. Keith Morris reports.
It is believed to be the first time the leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion will have spoken at the Catholic Cathedral in Norwich.
The visit, from November 7-9, is just a few days away from the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War One and this, combined with the Archbishop’s passion for reconciliation, has contributed strongly to the shaping of his programme which will take him across the Anglican Diocese of Norwich.
Archbishop Justin will start his visit at St John’s Cathedral with a short ecumenical act of worship. Everyone is welcome to attend the service will start at 12 noon.
Bishop Alan Hopes will welcome the Archbishop, the County Ecumenical Officer Catherine Howe will read from John 17 and Archbishop Justin will give a brief reflection.
The Bishop of Norwich’s chaplain, Rev Susanna Gunner, said: “At the start of the Archbishop’s visit we wanted to give the opportunity for all Christian denominations to come together in an act of unity and reconciliation, the perfect launch pad for his travels around our region.”
The subject of reconciliation will be explored further from 5.30pm at Norwich’s Anglican Cathedral starting with Evensong.
From 6.30pm attendees will be able to spend time moving around some specially devised Stations of Reconciliation and at 7.15pm, Bishop Graham James will chair ‘Reflections on Reconciliation’.
This will include opening contributions from Bishop Alan, Lutheran Pastor Rolf Stahl from Koblenz, Norwich’s German twin-town; Dr Marian Prinsley, Vice President of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation; and Dee Robinson Project Coordinator for New Routes which has welcomed refugee and asylum-seekers to Norwich. They will each speak briefly about reconciliation in their particular contexts.
In response, Archbishop Justin will make his own presentation before leading into a time of gathered silence, prayer and reflection. There will then be more time for people to make their pilgrimage around the Stations of Reconciliation before Compline brings the evening to a close at 9.15pm. Everyone is welcome to attend for all or part of the evening.
On Thursday November 8 there will be a unique opportunity to hear the Archbishop in conversation with BBC Look East’s Andrew Sinclair about being a Christian disciple. Everyone is invited to come along to enjoy a light bite of fish and chips at Great Yarmouth Minster at 7.30pm.
All events are free to attend, and everyone is welcome to come along. To attend the evening at Great Yarmouth Minster everyone is asked to book their free place by visiting www.dioceseofnorwich.org/archbishop
Pictured above is Archbishop Justin Welby on his last visit to Norwich in 2013.