Bishop of Dover becomes first religious leader to address Kent County Council

The Bishop of Dover, the Right Revd Trevor Willmott, became the first religious leader in living memory to address Kent County Council, when he spoke at the Annual Meeting on Thursday 23 May.

Addressing members in the Chamber of Sessions House in Maidstone, at the first full Council meeting since the County Council election, Bishop Trevor spoke on the theme of ‘What cost society?’ He said: “You must recognise yourselves the challenges that you face. It’s not just about buildings and finance but it’s the challenge of bringing hope back to people in some of our most deprived areas.”

Urging all members of the Conservative led Council, to ‘never forget who you represent’ and suggesting that the failure of local government to represent the whole county could lead to the demise of society he added: “Your responsibility is to listen and to ensure that their voice is never silenced in this chamber. You must care for those on the very margins of our society.”

After thanking members for their willingness to serve Kent County Council, the Bishop blessed the newly elected Chairman, Eric Hotson, before leading prayers for the well-being of the county and the work of the Council.

Outgoing Chair, Richard King commented; “I felt it would be helpful, as we have a new council with some new members, if we were addressed by somebody with authority who had an understanding of what life was about and the responsibility that members had undertaken.

“I felt that as this is a Christian country, we should ask for God’s blessing on the work we do, in a way which had not happened before.

“I have heard Bishop Trevor speak before and felt it would be a good idea to invite him. I sounded him out when I met him in February and he agreed to do it. I then sounded out all the opposition parties, and all were in favour.”

Following the County Council elections earlier this month, 17 members of UKIP hold seats at Kent County Council along with one Green Party seat, the first won at the polls by both parties.

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For further Information or to set up interviews: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese – 07876 210 446 or  eshepherd@diocant.org

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