Archbishop of Canterbury joins 600 young people for his final Easter Monday pilgrimage

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, participated in his final Easter Monday Youth Pilgrimage on April 9th, an occasion he described as one of the events he will miss ‘enormously’ when he steps down later this year.

With the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott and the Archdeacon of Maidstone, the Venerable Stephen Taylor, Archbishop Rowan joined 600 young people on the youth pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral on Easter Monday.

The pilgrimage which is in its 39th year saw young Christians make their way across Kent to Canterbury Cathedral for a special service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dr Williams joined around 40 young people to walk five miles from the tiny village of Patrixbourne into Canterbury.

Speaking during the service, Archbishop Rowan, who has participated on the pilgrimage since his enthronement in 2003, said: “It has been a real privilege for me to take part in the pilgrimage each year and I shall miss it enormously.”

Mr Murray Wilkinson, Children and Young People’s Ministry Adviser for Canterbury Diocese described the event: “The theme of this year’s pilgrimage was ‘We welcome’ and the service helped young people explore the welcome we provide to all of humanity.

“During the service, pilgrims were given bracelets created by a community in South Africa called Phambili ngeThemba. After Archbishop Rowan and Bishop Trevor tied a bracelet on each other, all the young people were given a bracelet to symbolically fasten on their neighbour.”

A video message from the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Reverend Thabo Makgoba, was played, during which time the Primate described the bracelets as a symbol of generosity and welcome and called on the pilgrims to share God’s welcome with others.

The Easter Monday Youth Pilgrimage is organised by a committee of young people from parishes in Canterbury Diocese.


 Archbishop Rowan talked about the Easter Monday Youth Pilgrimage in his retirement interview with the PA: press-association


Five attached showing Archbishop Rowan with pilgrims in Canterbury.