‘Churches are well-placed to tackle the scandal of poverty’ Archbishop says during an evening looking at food and community

During an evening chat show looking at food and community hosted by the Reverend Richard Coles (Radio 4), the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke about the need for churches to tackle the ‘scandal of poverty’.

‘Friday Night Kitchen’ run by Canterbury Diocese as a magazine style show to an audience of 350 at the Gulbenkian theatre in Canterbury included live cooking demonstrations and conversations with a number of special guests.

The Archbishop spoke about the importance of food banks and the church’s response to food poverty as he helped prepare a meal with Kent’s Community Chef and local unemployed young people. The Archbishop remarked: “The church should be a centre of hospitality working with the poor. We are one of the few frontline organisations that have a presence in every community and therefore churches are well placed to tackle the scandal of poverty.”

The Archbishop was joined by the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, who spoke about the importance of communities eating together to heal divisions. “When you’ve eaten together, it is hard to walk away, however hard a conversation may be. You may still not agree, but you are more likely to be prepared to listen if you’ve shared food” he remarked.

During the interval, guests were able to sample the meal cooked from food bank ingredients by the Community Chef, which included a wholesome soup and frittata.

Celebrity chefs Dev Biswal (Channel 4’s Superscrimpers, partner at the award winning Ambrette Restaurant) and Enzo Oliveri (Scilian Chef and lecturer at the University of West London and Bromley Catering College), created a fish supper for the audience to eat in the second half, whilst Reverend Richard Coles interviewed guests including the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, the Most Reverend Ian Ernest, and Old Testament Scholar, Dr Meg Warner.

Friday Night Kitchen was the launch event for Canterbury Diocese’s festival of faith ‘The Gathering’ which took place at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday 16 May, and included, talks, music, and a production of the ‘Life of Christ’ with the eighty strong Wintershall Players.

A DVD of Friday Night Kitchen is available to purchase for £10 (inc. p&p). Visit: www.the-gathering.co.uk


Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446, eshepherd@diocant.org


Bishop Trevor Willmott and Archbishop Justin speak with the Reverend Richard Coles whilst ‘Kent’s Community Chef’ prepares a meal.

Archbishop Justin helping ‘Kent’s Community Chef’ with the cooking.

Information for Editors

Kent’s Community Chef comprises Mike Spackman and Dominic Scannell who work from a brightly truck, bringing food to disadvantaged communities and work with NEETS, young people not in employment, education or training.