Easter Monday pilgrimage – 700 young people to celebrate 40th anniversary

Around 700 young people will participate in the Easter Monday Youth Pilgrimage, this Monday, on its 40th anniversary.

It is expected that the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, will join the service – the sixth Archbishop to have participated in the annual event.

The pilgrimage will see young Christians make their way across Kent to Canterbury Cathedral for a special service at twelve noon to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The pilgrims will be joined as they walk by the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, and the Archdeacon of Maidstone, the Venerable Stephen Taylor, Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson, and Canon Chris Irvine from Canterbury Cathedral.

The pilgrimage is organised by a committee of young people from parishes in Canterbury Diocese.

Kirsty Maddison, 16, of Dover, who joined the organising committee this year, having walked as a pilgrim for the last five years, remarked: “Having enjoyed taking part in the pilgrimage for several years, it is great to be involved with the work behind the scenes.” She continued: “The Easter Monday Youth Pilgrimage provides an opportunity to enjoy a great atmosphere with friends – a chance to get away from everyday life, to chill out and to let God in.”

Mr Murray Wilkinson, Children and Young People’s Ministry Adviser for Canterbury Diocese, described the theme of this year’s event: “In 2013 we will ask ourselves the question of “what now?” as we recognise that having once again celebrated Easter Sunday, we are left on our own, surrounded by empty Easter egg wrappers, wondering what it means to each of us. EMYP13 doesn’t presume to know the answer to that question but we trust that if we gather together we can face that question together. Everyone is warmly invited to come.”

Around 30 young people from the Diocese of Arras in France, which enjoys a link with Canterbury Diocese, will join the pilgrimage this year and will also help teach a French worship song to the English pilgrims.

Some pilgrims leave their home parishes on Easter Sunday, staying overnight in church halls before continuing to Canterbury.  Many others will meet up at one of the three mini-pilgrimage starting points and walk together to the Cathedral.  The mini- pilgrimage starting points are Chartham Village Hall (10.15am), Patrixbourne Parish Church with the (10.30am), Sturry Parish Church (10.30am), and Harbledown – Vernon House, 10.45am.


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

Permission to film in the Cathedral must be obtained before arrival.

Notes for press

On the day (April 1st):


  • 10.15am:         Bishop Trevor Willmott and young pilgrims leave Chartham village Hall, opposite Chartham Church, Station Road, CT4 7HX
  • 10.30am:         Archdeacon Stephen Taylor and young pilgrims leave Sturry Parish Church, Church Lane, Sturry
  • 10.30am:           Archdeacon Sheila and young pilgrims leave Patrixbourne Parish Church, Patrixbourne Road (before the Street), Patrixbourne
  • 10.45am:         Canon Chris Irvine will join young pilgrims at Vernon House School, Harbledown.
  • 12.00pm            Pilgrims enter the Cathedral precincts
  • 12.15pm            Start of welcome service in Canterbury Cathedral
  • 12.45pm            Lunch including an opportunity to learn a French song
  • 1.45pm              Pilgrims start to return to the Cathedral Nave
  • 2.00pm              Start of main service
  • 2.45pm              End of the service

Important Note: If you wish to film in the Cathedral precincts permission must be sought from Mr Christopher Robinson, Press officer at Canterbury Cathedral: robinsonc@canterbury-cathedral.org: Tel:(01227) 865282