Canterbury Diocese’s faith festival, The Gathering, wows attendees with variety

Canterbury Diocese’s biennial festival of faith, The Gathering, which took place on Saturday 16 May in Canterbury Cathedral, once again wowed attendees with the variety of activities on offer.

Building on the success of three previous events, this year’s festival included a special mix of stimulating talks, creative activities, entertainment, affirming worship and Bible study. Around 400 people, including 50 children, attended the event.

New for The Gathering 2015 was a production by the acclaimed Wintershall Players, an acting group of circa eighty people, who performed their energetic, visual and moving play ‘Life of Christ’ in the Nave of the Cathedral.

A Bible study by Old Testament scholar, Dr. Meg Warner, was offered at the start of the day and set the scene for a range of talks by high profile theologians. Dr Warner spoke on Genesis 18, and explored what the Bible has to tell us about our treatment of ‘the stranger’ today.

Other speakers included the author and broadcaster Reverend Lucy Winkett who spoke on the future shape of Christian discipleship, Barbara Glasson, founder of Somewhere Else – the ‘bread church’ in Liverpool, who considered what it is to be a Christian amongst diversity today and Guy Hayward and Will Parsons, otherwise known as the Singing Pilgrims, who gave an entertaining crash-course on the benefits of pilgrimage in Britain.

New for 2015 was also the addition of Light Bites, 10-minute snippets of inspiration, music and laughter which ran throughout the day in the Chapter House and included music by local songwriter Luke Resch and a talk on manure by the Bishop of Dover, Trevor Willmott.

The day ended with Messy Cathedral – an interactive all age worship, run by Martyn Payne (of the national Messy Church team), which included music, craft activities, prayer and ended with tea and cakes for all.

For Reverend Canon Caroline Pinchbeck, Chair of the organising team, the event was a huge success:

“The Gathering this year, as in previous years, brought together people from all different parts of the Diocese, and from all different perspectives, to share in a time of discovery, spirituality and fun.”

She concluded: “The quality of speakers and activities was second to none and really wowed those that participated.”


Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446,


  • By the Compass Rose in the Cathedral, James Burke Dunsmore plays Jesus in the Wintershall Players production of ‘Life of Christ’

A young lad participates in the craft activities of Messy Cathedral at The Gathering.