On Saturday 27th April, The Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, the Bishop of Dover met with volunteers to mark one month to go until The Gathering, an enlightening two-day festival of faith organised by the Diocese of Canterbury, which takes place within Canterbury Cathedral and its Precincts on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June.
Called ‘Ambassadors’, the volunteers have already been spreading the word about the event in their communities by giving out programmes, putting up posters, speaking at services and community meetings, and publicising The Gathering in their newsletters.
With only one month to go, the Saturday training session gave Ambassadors all the practical information they needed about the event, as well as useful tips and hints on what they could do in the remaining weeks to encouraging people to come along.
The Rt. Rev Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover thanked all the Ambassadors for coming forward to be volunteers and reminded them of the importance of being an Ambassador:
“Being an Ambassador is not easy, as it is about being willing to stand up and be a representative for something. It is also not just about stewarding on the day, but stewarding in a broader sense too, by asking people to come with us on this journey to The Gathering. So for all your endeavours we are very grateful.
Everything we and you do as Ambassadors must ultimately be underpinned by prayer, and so if you undertake just one thing between now and the end of May, keep The Gathering in your prayers, and in the prayers of your churches.”
With the Diocese reaching out as far as Maidstone, the Weald, up to Sheerness and Sittingbourne, Thanet, Dover and Sheppey, The Gathering organisers were keen that as many people as possible helped spread information about The Gathering across Kent.
Paula Jardine-Rose is a member of St. Margaret’s Church in Wychling, Sittingbourne, and she explained why she wanted to be an Ambassador:
“For me it was about wanting to give something back. The Church and the Cathedral organise many things which one can attend, but to actually be part of something and to feel you are making a difference, as well as helping promote the faith, was the main impetus for me.”
Whether a regular church-goer or not, with its range of high-profile speakers and leading theologians, wonderful worship and Bible study, as well as a host of creative and children’s activities, The Gathering aims to bring together people from across the region for an inspirational experience that all can enjoy.
Just some of the names to look forward to are; the writer and broadcaster, Melvyn Bragg, and Fabrice Muamba, the former footballer for Bolton Wanderers, who suffered a massive on-pitch heart attack in 2012 and who will speak about his early life in Africa, the presence of faith in football and the impact of this life-changing event.
There are also acclaimed scholars such as The Revd Dr Will Lamb, Vice-Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge and The Very Revd Dr Frances Ward, Dean of St. Edmundsbury, as well as many impressive local academics including; the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kent and eminent scientist, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow; The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis; author, Michele Guinness, and The Revd Bob Callaghan, National Coordinator for Inclusive Church.
On the Saturday there will be a host of creative and children’s activities, as well as the making of a giant image of the Cathedral made out of Lego, especially designed for The Gathering by the UK’s only Lego Master, and a working display of Hornby trains in the Cathedral Nave.
There are also two competitions open for anyone to enter and which include a chance to meet Fabrice Muamba and a competition to win a Hornby ‘Flying Scotmans’ train set.
For further information, or to arrange interviews with any of the speakers or activity leaders at The Gathering, please contact Jennifer Ross, Projects Officer for the Communities and Partnerships Framework on 01227 459 401 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
- Photos show: Gathering Ambassadors and Bishop Trevor outside the Cathedral
- Bishop Trevor welcomes and thanks the Ambassadors
- Gathering Ambassadors have a tour around the Cathedral precincts where the event will take place
- The Diocese of Canterbury’s Communities and Partnership Framework is one of five Frameworks within the Diocese of Canterbury. Its purpose is to empower parishes and deaneries to serve their communities by working in partnerships with others. The Framework has particular responsibility for rural and heritage issues, special interest groups, forging links with local authorities, other faith groups and with charities.
- Tickets for The Gathering are available as day passes and include:
- Access to all Bible study and key note speaker events
- Creative activities
- And a choice from a selection of daily talks.
- TICKET PRICES: Friday £15 (day pass) / Saturday £15 (day pass) / Family pass £20 (includes two adults and up to 5 children under the age of 18)
- Tickets are available to book online at www.the-gathering.co.uk/buytickets.shtml or call 01227 787 787
The closing date for both competitions is 5pm on Monday May 27th. Full details of the
Fabrice Muamba competition can be found at: www.the- gathering.co.uk/competitions_muamba.shtml and full details of the Hornby competition can be found at: www.the-gathering.co.uk/competitions_hornby.shtml