Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Down the Old Kent Road with Archbishop Justin

'You'll never guess who I had in the back of my cab today!' was a favourite saying of my dad (a black cab driver) when he got home at night.

Somewhere in London there will be a cabbie telling his family 'I was going down the Old Kent Road but who should get in the cab but the Archbishop of Canterbury?' Likewise there's a young man telling his mates: 'so I was in a cafe in the Old Kent Rd when in walked ten vicars, a film crew and the Archbishop of Canterbury.'

The occasion was the visit of Justin Welby to Bermondsey Deanery to make a short video for the Thy Kingdom Come initiative about the  parish visiting we did last summer.

The visitors were commissioned by the Bishop of Woolwich when he came to launch Thy Kingdom Come at St James on Ascension Day.

In our two parishes we visited homes in four different locations spread aover a Saturday morning and three evenings, having previously dropped a letter in saying that we were coming, gave our greetings to the residents and asked them if there was anything we could pray about. We received a uniformly warm reception from everyone we visited and hope to repeat the project for Thy Kingdom Come next year.

It was Sir Simon Hughes, pictured here with the Archbishop this afternoon, who had given the initial impetus to the project, encouraging the churches to emulate the political parties, in getting out there in the parishes, knocking on doors and making contact with people. A number of parishes including St Philip's, St James, & St Anne's took up the challenge as part of Thy Kingdom Come 2018.

Today the Archbishop met some of the visitors, and spoke to some of us about the project as we strolled around St Philip's parish and along the Old Kent Road to Roberto's cafe.

The Archbishop & Paul in the cafe
It was good to welcome the Archbishop to Bermondsey deanery. We were impressed by his kindness, warmth and encouragement, and the care he took with individuals, including the young man in the cafe who asked the archbishop if they could have a photo together (they did).

Watch this space for the promotional video when it appears.

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