Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, ‘Miracle’ footballer, Fabrice Muamba, and MP David Lammy enthral crowds at Canterbury Diocese’s two day festival of faith

Broadcaster and author, Melvyn Bragg, ex-footballer and survivor of an on-pitch cardiac arrest, Fabrice Muamba and MP for the constituency where the 2011 riots started, David Lammy MP, were just three of the speakers who participated in ‘The Gathering’, Canterbury Diocese’s two day festival of faith.

Around 700 people attended events that formed part of the two day event which took place in Canterbury Cathedral and precincts on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June.

In his keynote address, which took place in the Cathedral Nave on Friday 31 May, David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham and ex-government minister, told Christians it was ‘time to turn up the volume’ and talk about the need to transform society.

Mr Lammy, a practicing Christian, said it was time for Christians to stop talking about women and gay people, get out of their buildings and into their communities. People of faith, he said, also needed to challenge politicians, business and community leaders about the direction society is heading.

The keynote speaker on Saturday 1 June, Lord Melvyn Bragg, argued that William Tyndale was the ‘greatest Englishman’ who has ever existed for his work in translating the Bible into accessible English in the sixteenth century.

Praising both the impact the King James Bible had on the English Language and the radical impact it had on British culture, he said: “William Tyndale’s English Bible gave the people of England the liberty to think, rather than the duty to believe.” Saying that Tyndale should ‘no longer be erased from history’ he said Tyndale had used his genius to make available a monumental body of knowledge which enabled even the most humble person to ‘know God’.

On Saturday afternoon, Ex-Bolton Wanderers footballer, Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped beating for 78 minutes following an on-pitch cardiac arrest in March 2012, spoke movingly about the impact faith and prayer had on his miraculous recovery.

He said: “Prayer was the biggest medicine, the biggest factor in my recovery.” He continued: “The incident showed that God can work miracles.”

Children and families were entertained at ‘The Gathering’ with activities including a model railway exhibition by Hornby, costume trails, magic shows and godly storytelling, which all took place in the Cathedral Nave.

Participants also completed a picture of the Cathedral created from 51,400 lego bricks.


Photo Shows: Fabrice Muamba and Mark Jones at Canterbury Cathedral

For further Information: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese – 07876 210 446 or

More information about The Gathering –