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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Archbishop's visit to Derby Diocese

Sunday 25th September 2011

Archbishop Rowan Williams visited the Diocese of Derby on 23rd-25th September 2011. The visit was hosted by the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern.

Friday 23rd September

The trip commenced with a lunchtime visit to the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road campus, where the Archbishop was shown the university’s Multi-Faith Centre, Students’ Union and library.  He spoke with chaplains, students and staff, and was officially welcomed to Derby by city delegates.   

Dr Williams then went to Normanton to meet local people and to learn more about community projects in the area, such as Restore at St Augustine’s Church which helps women involved in prostitution, the Sure Start Rosehill Children's Centre, and the Derby City Mission.  The Archbishop performed an official blessing and dedication of Derby City Mission's new building in Charnwood Street.  Restore and the Derby City Mission have both received funding from the Church Urban Fund, and Dr Williams said:

 “This project shows yet again how the Church Urban Fund can respond promptly, imaginatively and co-operatively to the needs of people at risk. I felt very privileged to visit and to learn about the work.”

On Friday evening Dr Williams took part in a Making a Difference debate [mp3] [transcript] at Pride Park Stadium, alongside Bombardier UK chair Colin Walton, former Labour MP Roy Hattersley, Age UK chair Dianne Jeffrey and Derby County president Tom Glick.

Saturday 24th September

The Archbishop went to an early Holy Communion service at All Saints Bakewell on Saturday, before meeting clergy from Derby Diocese at Lady Manners School.  Dr Williams was given a guided tour of the school and then delivered a lecture on "Making a Witness in the Public Square".[mp3]  He discussed the nature of loyalty and how our political, ethnic and even family loyalties cannot trump our loyalty to God. He also urged those assembled to look at the theology of William Stringfellow, who held a strong belief that good politics is responding to God’s call to combat the power of death in the world, and how the Church is not only a witness to what anchors humanity - but also what judges humanity.

Archbishop at farmers' lunch, DerbyLunch followed at the Farming Life Centre in Blackwell, where Archbishop Rowan was able to spend time with members of the farming community and to enjoy songs, poems, drama and a photographic exhibition.  The Archbishop said later in an interview how impressed he had been and how much he had learned about the pressures that farmers face in the area. 

On Saturday afternoon Dr Williams opened and dedicated a new eco-centre at St Thomas' Brampton, and was then taken away by the Church on a Bus, which is run by the Church Army for homeless people and those living with addiction.  His next visit was to The Gates project, a Fresh Expressions church with a heavy-metal biker theme.   

Archbishop Rowan then took part in Harvest Evensong at St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne, not only preaching the sermon but also singing with a choir of 580 Derbeians.

Sunday 25th September

On Sunday the Archbishop preached [mp3] [transcript] at a Civic Eucharist service in Derby Cathedral, and finished his visit to Derby at the Convent of the Holy Name, Oakwood, where he had lunch with the community of sisters. 

During an interview [mp3] with BBC Radio Derby, Archbishop Rowan said:

“The impression I was left with after my visit was the enormous sense of pride in Derby and Derbyshire, as well as the diverse history of the area – the history of creativity in industry, the history of farming and the landscape itself – enormously stirring and very encouraging.”

He was also struck by:

"...the great variety of ways in which the church has engaged at grassroots level with communities.  From the Derby City Mission that I opened on Friday afternoon, through to a visit to Brampton in Chesterfield yesterday afternoon, I have seen amazingly innovative work being done here on the streets.  There is a lot to be grateful for." 

 Archbishop Rowan at St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne

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