Archbishop Justin in Ashford for Holy Week


  • Hospital visit, pub Q&As and circus skills on the agenda

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Hon and Rt Revd Justin Welby, is preparing to spend the week running up to Easter in the Ashford area. During Holy Week (10 - 16 April), the Archbishop will visit churches, children's groups, businesses and community outreach projects - as well as a hospital, a baby memorial garden and a brain injury rehabilitation centre.

The theme of the week is Sharing our Story. "The high point of our Christian year - for many of us - is Holy Week and Easter," said Archbishop Justin. "For so many Christians the main reason is because of the power and beauty of the story of our Lord Jesus as he faces the greatest challenge of his life. And it's precious to us because it's not just his story, it becomes our story - the more we look at it, the more we explore it, sing it, pray it, the more we find ourselves as we lay our own lives alongside Jesus' life - we find all sorts of meeting points.

"And so, I am greatly looking forward to being with the churches of Ashford in the wonderful Diocese of Canterbury throughout Holy Week and into Easter this year, so that we can be renewed and reset by Jesus Christ. And my hope and prayer is that many who've never really paid attention to the story might come along to one of the events and be encouraged to find themselves in it - to see that there's something that speaks to them. So please do pray for these days of Holy Week, please think of who you might invite to come along and get involved in as many things as you can. May God take us deeper into the story of his love, that we might share that love with others."

The Ashford Deanery has 18 churches serving a population of 97,000 people and 10 church schools. "We're simply delighted that Archbishop Justin will be spending Holy Week sharing in the life and work of our churches," said Ashford Joint Area Dean the Revd Jeremy Worthen. "The stories of our communities are so rich - they are stories of struggle and challenge - but also of joy, hope and resilience. We're looking forward to sharing these stories - and the story of our faith - this Easter time."

Planned highlights of the week include

Sunday 10 April

  • Palm Sunday parade

Monday 11 April

  • Visit to the William Harvey Hospital 
  • Q&A at the Woolpack Pub, Smeeth 

Tuesday 12 April

  • Visit to Headway Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre
  • Q&A at The George Pub, Egerton

Wednesday 13 April

  • Breakfast with local business leaders
  • Visit to local Make Lunch project, with circus skills from the Flying Seagulls
  • Visit to Ashford College to hear stories of students and adult learners, including refugees

Thursday 14 April

  • Reflection through art and music on the last 24 hours of Jesus' life 

Friday 15 April

  • Good Friday walks of witness 
  • Messy Church

Saturday 16 April

  • Visit to East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens
  • Music, drama and activities on Ashford High Street

Media wishing to attend any of the events or find out more about the week should contact Anna Drew via adrew@diocant.org or 07753454586.