Archbishop Justin lays lifeboat wreath off Norfolk coast
The second day of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby’s, visit to Norfolk saw him visit a school, hospital, church café and lifeboat as well as help serve fish and chips to over 750 people.
On Thursday November 8 the Archbishop met with members of the local community at St Mary’s Church, Happisburgh. Speaking with residents, parish council representatives, lifeboat personnel and many others he heard how coastal erosion has affected the local community. Chris Lomax climbed the church tower with Archbishop Justin and pointed out his caravan park on the cliff edge.
The Revd Catherine Dobson, vicar of St Mary’s church said: “Although Happisburgh is under threat, this community is not defined by the erosion. There is a real sense of pride in the village and its church and a determination to enjoy it for as long as possible.
“Most church buildings will stand for generations, but if the Shoreline Management Plan remains the same, this building may not exist in 40 years. While the church is the people and not the building, the building has been used for worship for centuries and is a place where locals and holiday makers alike have experienced God and come to worship. It therefore holds a special place in the faith journeys of many and this is to be celebrated. It’s wonderful that Archbishop Justin has been able to appreciate that in his visit today.
“Maybe a village under threat is not taken for granted in the same way as a place is there permanently, and, as such is appreciated.”
Archbishop Justin said: “We protest against those that do not care for the environment, just make money and look after their own interests. And we seek a change in government opinion and a determination to protect communities and look after people. This is a place not simply defined by coastal erosion, but by the people who live here, and those who will live here.”
The Archbishop and the Bishop of Norwich then went to Caister Lifeboat station for a short act of worship with contributions from the local junior school. Representatives from different denominations of Caister churches, parents and children from the local school as well as members of the Hub all took part in the service.
Archbishop Justin and Bishop Graham then then went out to sea with the Caister Lifeboat men to lay a wreath for all those who have died at sea over the last 100 years.
Afterwards, Archbishop Justin travelled to the Pathway Café in Great Yarmouth where he met some of the café’s volunteers and visitors and helped serve the lunchtime meal. The café was first established in April 2014 in recognition of a gap in provision of food to the most vulnerable within our local community. It is managed wholly by volunteers and the aim is to provide a safe and comfortable space where those who are displaced, lonely and homeless can find friendship, compassion, respect, support and practical advice.
Archbishop Justin then went to Peterhouse Primary Academy in Gorleston to take part in a collective act of worship which was led by the newly-formed Academy Values Committee made up of pupils from Key Stage 2.
Ryan Freeman, Headteacher of Peterhouse Primary Academy said: “We were incredibly honoured to receive a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and it was the perfect way to launch our new vision and values. The children had worked hard to prepare for the day and we’re thrilled that their hard work paid off – the choir sang beautifully, the children presented their collective worship with clarity and composure and everyone was incredibly excited to have such an important visitor in school. We would like to thank everyone who has worked behind the scenes to make this day possible.”
Following his visit to the Academy, the Archbishop went to the James Paget University Hospital where he visited staff and patients.
In the evening Archbishop Justin helped to serve fish and chips to over 750 people at Great Yarmouth Minster and was interviewed by BBC Look East’s Andrew Sinclair.
Pictured top is Archbishop Justin at the wheel of Caister lifeboat and, above, with children outside Happisburgh church.