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Archbishop to visit Diocese of Ely for launch of 900th anniversary celebrations

Wednesday 21st January 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will pay a pastoral visit to the Diocese of Ely as it launches its 900th anniversary celebrations this weekend, 23-25 January.

During his visit, Dr Williams will meet with all the clergy of the Diocese, and visit communities reflecting its diversity, before taking part in the inaugural Eucharist of the 900th anniversary celebrations at Ely Cathedral on Saturday 24th January.  The visit will end on Sunday at Great St Mary's Church, Cambridge, where he will preach the Hulsean Sermon before the Vice-Chancellor and University.

His pastoral visit will begin on Friday 23rd January at 3pm in Cambourne, a new town community near Cambridge. Dr Williams will dedicate the site for the construction of an eagerly awaited church building.

In addition to the rapidly developing urban areas and the university city of Cambridge, the Diocese of Ely includes a vast rural area, including a large portion of agricultural Fenland.

Early, on Saturday morning, Dr Williams will tour one of the region's biggest farms, G S Shropshire and Sons at Barway near Ely. The 10,000 hectare arable farm encompasses the entire food production process from planting and cultivating to packaging and marketing.  Dr Williams will hear how migrant workers play a vital role in providing the wide range of skills needed for this comprehensive farming enterprise.   

Later in the morning, the Archbishop will visit the church of St Mary Magdalen in Wiggenhall, near King's Lynn. He will be able to contrast the challenging and pragmatic approach of churchgoers in an agricultural community with that of city life. He will see how clergy in multiple rural parishes, with little available lay leadership, are winning support from members of the wider community. 

In the afternoon, Dr Williams - together with the Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, and the Suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon, Dr David Thomson - will launch the year-long celebrations at a Eucharist in Ely Cathedral at 2.30 pm

On Sunday the Archbishop will preach the Hulsean Sermon entitled 'Seeing the Question: Revelation and Self-Knowledge' at Great St Mary's Church, Cambridge.

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